Coronavirus set to stop more flights from China

AUSTRALIA'S flight ban to and from Wuhan will be extended to other cities if needed, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said as the coronavirus continues to spread.

There are more than 6000 confirmed cases of the disease, including seven in Australia, which has now killed more than 130 people.

Many airlines, including British Airways, Air France and Cathay Pacific, have begun stopping or restricting flights to parts of mainland China to different extents.

 

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says flights to more cities will be shutdown if necessary. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says flights to more cities will be shutdown if necessary. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Mr Dutton said while Australia had only stopped flights to and from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, this would be extended if needed.

"If we need to take tough decisions in terms of closing down additional flights or stopping travel, then we will do that," Mr Dutton told 2GB.

"We have worked through different scenarios.

 

 

"For the moment, on the advice we have got, we're taking the appropriate actions.

"If we need to make decisions about other cities, or if we need to extend what we've done then we will not hesitate to do that if we think the threat is significant enough to the Australian public."

He said it was important to recognise that the vast majority of cases of the new coronavirus had been within Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

Travellers at Brisbane International Airport wearing masks as a precaution this week. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Travellers at Brisbane International Airport wearing masks as a precaution this week. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

"We have got to do what is in our national interest," he said.

"It may well extend to other cities. The government can make a decision based on all the facts and advice on whether we stop flights from other cities.

"We've already put out warnings on whether people should consider if their travel to China is necessary."