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China’s getting a lot more isolated from the world this week

Passengers leave LAX after arriving from Shanghai, China, after a positive case of the coronavirus was announced in the Orange County suburb of Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2020.
Reuters/Ringo Chiu
Let’s stay home.

China’s coronavirus outbreak is poised to overtake SARS in numbers of infections—and the steady spread of the outbreak is seeing countries and airlines pulling back in a bid to stop the spread of the disease outside of the country.

Chinese health authorities today said that the number of infections crossed 7,700 (link in Chinese) by midnight on the previous day, and that the number of deaths had reached 170. During the SARS outbreak, about 8,100 people were infected globally, while 774 people died of their illness.

The US and Britain have issued travel warnings for China in light of the outbreak. Globally, more than a dozen airlines have suspended routes to mainland China. United Airlines cited a “significant decline in demand” for its move—China has quarantined over a dozen cities and barred overseas travel by tour groups. While some have cut flights for two weeks, in some cases the suspensions stretch until April.

In Hong Kong, the decision to reduce travel links with the mainland was an especially fraught one, with officials no doubt wary of the symbolism of closing the border to mainland travelers in the wake of a restive year of protests against Beijing. But amid signs that the government’s failure to take more robust measures was adding to already deep public anger—some people set a fire at a building that authorities had proposed could be used as a quarantine center—Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday (Jan. 28) announced a slate of travel restrictions, though not a total closure of the border as many have demanded.

The health crisis deals another severe blow to airlines, some of which are still reeling from the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max in March last year.

Here’s a partial list of moves by airlines servicing Beijing and Shanghai, as of Jan. 30:

Here’s a list of moves to restrict entry for Chinese nationals:

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