Wearing surgical masks, Takeo Aoyama, center left, an employee at Nippon Steel Corp.’s subsidiary in Wuhan, China, and Takayuki Kato, center right, an employee at an information and communications technology company Intec, speak to journalists after returning home by a Japanese chartered plane at Haneda international airport in Tokyo Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Japan on Wednesday began evacuating their citizens from the Chinese city hardest-hit by an outbreak of a new virus. Aoyama said more than 400 Japanese people wishing to return to Japan are in Wuhan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga)

The Latest: British Airways suspends flights to China

January 29, 2020 - 3:16 am

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the outbreak of a new virus from China:

4:15 p.m.

British Airways says it's immediately suspending all of its flights to and from mainland China after the U.K. government warned against unnecessary travel to the country amid a virus outbreak.

BA said in a statement Wednesday that “we apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.”

The airline operates daily flights from London's Heathrow Airport to Shanghai and Beijing. It took the measure a day after Britain's Foreign Office updated its travel advice on China, warning against “all but essential travel” to the mainland, not including Hong Kong and Macao.

China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. The outbreak has killed more than 130 people.

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11: 15 a.m.

Australia and New Zealand will work together to evacuate their isolated and vulnerable citizens from China’s virus-hit Hubei province.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday could not say how many or how soon citizens would be flown by Qantas from Hubei. The departures would be arranged in consultation with China.

The citizens would be sent for 14 days to a quarantine center on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean which has been used to hold asylum seekers and foreign criminals facing deportation.

Australia and New Zealand have also ratcheted up their travel advice for China.

Australia has advised its citizens to reconsider their need to travel to China and not to travel to Hubei.

New Zealand's government advised people to avoid all non-essential travel to China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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10 a.m.

Two Japanese men evacuated from a virus-hit Chinese city say they felt relieved but also exhausted upon their arrival in Tokyo.

They were aboard a chartered flight Japan arranged to evacuate 206 Japanese citizens from Wuhan.

Takeo Aoyama who works for Nippon Steel Corp. and Takayuki Kato, who works for Intec, both wore masks but said they felt fine.

Kato said he was not panicking in Wuhan, but “I was shocked when all transportation systems were suspended. That’s when the situation drastically changed."

China cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to try to contain the outbreak of the new type of coronavirus that has infected thousands of people.

Aoyama said many people who wish to go home to Japan are still in Wuhan, including workers at a Japanese supermarket chain staying open to supply food.

He said it is important to step up preventive measures in Japan, but “I hope we can also provide support for the Chinese people, which I think would also help the Japanese people who are still there.”

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