Amid Coronavirus Panic, Taiwan Scrambles to Distinguish Itself From China

Confusion over Taiwan’s status has seen flights cancelled as part of broader bans on China traffic.

The Diplomat
Date: February 04, 2020
By: Shannon Tiezzi   

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ 玄史生

With the coronavirus epidemic continuing to spread rapidly, particularly within China, major airlines around the world are cutting off service to the country. According to a count by Bloomberg, as of February 2, Australia’s Qantas Airways, Air Canada, Air France, Germany’s Lufthansa, Air India, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, and the United States’ Delta Air Lines — among many others — have all suspended or restricted flights to and from China.

Italy and Vietnam both banned flight connections to Taiwan as well.

As Reuters explained, Italy’s ban on Taiwan flights came about because the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies Taiwan as part of China. Even though the island is independently governed, the government in Beijing claims it as part of the People’s Republic, and has long blocked Taiwan’s participation in international bodies, even nonpolitical ones like the WHO.

The WHO recently classified the new coronavirus outbreak as a “global health emergency” but even then, the most recent travel advice posted on its website “advises against the application of any restrictions of international traffic.”    [FULL  STORY]


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