Following on from my Chief Executive’s update yesterday, we’ve received further advice overnight that may be useful for our operators.
According to Tourism Australia’s most recent information, the latest development with the greatest potential impact to the Australian tourism sector is the decision by a number of international airlines to suspend or reduce flights to and from mainland China. Airlines are attributing their decision to reduced market demand, and also to calls by some countries (including China) to avoid ‘non-essential’ travel to and from the country.
There are now close to 8,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across 17 countries (Japan, Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Finland). Of the confirmed cases, 89 are outside China. The global death toll continues to rise and now stands at 170 (all in China).
Confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to rise in China
As at 29 January, the World Health Organisation reports China has 5,997 confirmed and 9,239 suspected cases of coronavirus. Of these 1,239 have been classified as severe.
Yesterday, British Airways suspended all flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai with immediate effect until Friday 31 January and suspended all bookings until Saturday 29 February citing the travel advice of the British foreign office. Many others have followed suit with flight reductions or reduced service through February and some into March. Qantas and Singapore airlines flights to and from mainland China remain unchanged at this point in time.
Many of our members have contacted us about help in supporting their staff through this crisis and what should be done to protect them. Last night, we received an email from the Chief Medical Officer in the Australian Government’s Department of Health which provides some useful information with regard to staff precautions. You can read his letter here.
For Workplace Relations queries relating to your employees please contact the Workplace Relations Advice Line on (03) 8662 5222.
VTIC will continue to liaise with Tourism Australia and Visit Victoria on their responses and advice during this crisis and we will update you as information comes to hand. For more information about the virus and government response activities please refer to the Department of Health website.