Ethiopian Airlines announced that it is not going to stop flying to China where an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus has killed 491 people and over 23,000 cases are diagnosed.
CEO of Ethiopian, Tewolde Gebremaraim, in his interview Fana BroadcastinG Corporation, explained that suspending flights to China is not a solution to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Stopping flights to China does not guarantee the spread of the virus to Ethiopia as we also fly to countries that have reported suspected cases of coronavirus. It should be remembered that we did not suspend our flights to Ebola affected countries when the virus started to spread,” he said. “The solution is following the necessary precaution and protecting our passengers and employees from the virus.”
So far, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania and Rwandair cancelled their China flights, while Ethiopian Airlines refused to do so, despite the demands of considerable number of Ethiopians, who have feared that the virus would spread to their country.
Meanwhile, many Ethiopians expressed their discontent over the issue, calling for the suspension of all flights to China. Tewolde, in his part, said that Ethiopian is keen to follow the advisory of WHO.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom, Former Ethiopian Minister of Health, said on Monday there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade” in trying to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 361 people in China.
Air traffic between China and Africa has jumped 630Pct in the last decade. Accounting for half of the 2,616 annual flights between the two, Ethiopian operates 35 direct flights to China every week.