Vietnamese carriers suspend flights to European and ASEAN destinations over coronavirus

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HANOI (March 18): Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air will suspend flights to major Southeast Asian and European destinations due to the coronavirus, the companies said.

The Vietnamese government on Monday introduced a mandatory quarantine for visitors from the United States, Europe, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

Weeks after announcing the recovery of all 16 of its coronavirus sufferers, Vietnam said it now has 68 infections —52 of them detected since March 6.

The sudden uptick was traced to a flight from London that landed on March 2, and a religious gathering in Malaysia, authorities said. There have been no deaths in the country.

"The suspension is in line with the government's quarantine policy," VietJet Air said in a statement on its website.

"Flights between Vietnam and Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia will be halted from March 20," it added.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has also suspended all flights to and from France and Malaysia from Wednesday and is considering cutting down flights to other Southeast Asian destinations.

The firm late on Wednesday said it would also halt flights to Russia and Taiwan from Thursday until further notice amid the surge of the coronavirus outbreak and recent entry restrictions between countries.

Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines are two carriers in the country operating Southeast Asian routes, with multiple flights to different cities each day.