Russian airline suspends China flights due to virus

Russian air passenger carrier Ural Airlines announced on Monday it suspended its flights to China because of the "unfavorable epidemiologic situation" caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Ural Airlines canceled all to its only destination in China -- Hainan island -- from Russian cities of Tyumen and Yekaterinburg, until the coronavirus is contained, company's press office said in a statement.

"Due to the unfavorable epidemiological situation in China from January 27, suspended its flight program to Hainan island from Yekaterinburg and Tyumen for an indefinite period. The flights will be resumed after the normalization of the epidemiological situation," it said.

Passengers will get the refund for the tickets purchased in full without penalties and deductions, it added.

The coronavirus -- so named because under the microscope it resembles a crown, or corona in Latin -- has killed at least 80 people in China and infected more than 2,700 worldwide.

Cities have been quarantined and China is building a 1,000-bed hospital for those who have contracted the virus.

The virus has also spread to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Vietnam, and Canada.

Travelers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide, and many airlines suspended flights to Wuhan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting on the virus in Geneva on Thursday. However, it did not declare the outbreak as an international emergency, saying it needed more information about the virus.

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