US Airlines Mull Suspension of Flights to Europe as Coronavirus Spreads

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The latest dramatic increase in the number of Italy’s confirmed coronavirus cases has sparked global concern about Europe’s ability to limit the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.

This concern has led at least two major airline companies in the United States to discuss the option of suspending all or some flights to the European Union, beginning on Sunday, March 1.

Greek Reporter has learned from two different sources in two different airlines that the rationale behind this move is that since the European Union did not close its internal borders when Italy began reporting dozens of new Coronavirus cases, a generalized outbreak across the EU is simply a matter of time.

Greek Reporter understands that at this point, this is just a possible plan and the airlines are waiting to see the progress of contagion in Italy this week in order to act accordingly.

EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides did not rule out measures regarding the Union’s internal borders; however, she said that the Commission is not yet considering border closures in the bloc’s Schengen area.

The Schengen area is comprised of a total of 26 countries which have officially abolished all border controls at their mutual borders, allowing EU citizens to move freely without checks of any kind.

In related developments, Reuters reported that Tunisia has announced that it may suspend some flights to Italy to reduce its exposure to the coronavirus, Transport Minister Rene Trabelsi said on a local radio station on Monday.

“We take all measures and precautions in coordination with the Health Ministry… we will take decisions today or tomorrow to avoid any threat… we may suspend some flights,” the Minister said on Shems FM.