Tour OperatorsAirlines, hotels and OTAs waive cancellation fees

A travel agent’s guide to coronavirus

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Royal Caribbean, Costa and  MSC are among cruise lines that have cancelled sailings from Chinese ports.
Royal Caribbean, Costa and MSC are among cruise lines that have cancelled sailings from Chinese ports. Photo Credit: GettyImages
Cases have been found across Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Canada, as well as four confirmed and one "probable" case in Australia.

BEIJING – China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday by three days to next Sunday in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the death toll from which rose to 80 with more than 2700 confirmed cases, China's government said Monday.

China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei, said the country was entering a “crucial stage” as “it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting worse”. 

Cases have been found across Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Canada, as well as four confirmed and one "probable" case in Australia.

2019-nCoV, the official designation for the new virus, emerged in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has spread through China.

No fatalities have been reported outside China.

These are the some of the latest developments:

Cruise operators including Royal Caribbean Cruises, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises and Astro Ocean Cruises said they cancelled a combined 12 cruises that had been scheduled to embark from Chinese ports before February 2.

Hong Kong Disneyland and the city's Ocean Park were closed on Sunday. Shanghai Disneyland, which expected 100,000 visitors daily through the Lunar New Year holidays, had already closed.

China's biggest online travel agency, Trip.com, is waiving cancellation fees on all hotels, car rentals and tickets for tourist attractions to Wuhan and is ''actively monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of all travellers''.

Overall passenger travel in China declined by nearly 29% on Saturday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, from a year earlier, with air passengers down nearly 42%, a transportation ministry official said.

China cut off trains, planes and other links to Wuhan Jan. 22, and has steadily expanded the lockdown to 16 surrounding cities with a combined population of more than 50 million -- greater than that of New York, London, Paris and Moscow combined.

Two Indonesian airlines -- Lion Air and Sriwijaya Air -- cancelled eight flights between Bali and the Chinese city of Wuhan in the wake of the novel Coronavirus outbreak.

The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union said it had received a "tremendous" amount of emails and messages from members concerned about catching the virus given they were exposed to more than 300 passengers from numerous places on a single flight.

Hotel groups are paying out refunds to tourists who want to cancel trips to Wuhan and other parts of China. Both InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Hyatt will allow guests to change or cancel stays at the majority of their Chinese hotels over the Lunar New Year holiday. IHG has 443 hotels in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan under different brands, with four in Wuhan.

A series of public events in Hong Kong’s, including a Lunar New Year gala and next month’s marathon have been cancelled while the re-opening of schools after the holidays has been delayed.

Outside of China, luxury goods brands are likely to be hit as Chinese tourists stay at home rather than travel overseas for shopping sprees. LVMH, which owns the Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Hermes brands, saw its value slide last week.

Hong Kong's national carrier Cathay Pacific was among the first airlines to allow passengers scheduled to fly to or from Wuhan to reschedule for free while, at the same time allowing cabin crew to wear surgical masks on flights.

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