China aviation regulator says flights outside of Hubei to resume gradually

BEIJING (Reuters) – Flights in China halted in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak will resume gradually as factories and businesses reopen but those to Hubei province, the virus’s epicenter, will remain suspended, the country’s aviation regulator said on Tuesday.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will also urge other global aviation regulators to resume international flights to China to make sure the country is connected to the outside world, CAAC said in a statement, quoting comments by its director Feng Zhenglin on Monday.

But the industry would need to stay alert about the spread of the coronavirus outside of China and make efforts to ensure it would not spread back home from international communities, Feng was mentioned as saying.

South Korea has seen sharp increases of the infected patients in recent days, with the total number of confirmed cases reaching 893 on Tuesday, while coronavirus cases also spiked in Italy, as the country sealed off the worst affected towns and banned public events.

In light of the difficulties airlines are facing, the regulator would also provide cash support to flights that are critical to virus control efforts, Feng was quoted as saying. The statement did not elaborate on the cash support.

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