The South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled international flights until May 31, 2020.
The move is part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, that’s infected 202 South Africans.
It follows the gazetting of new stringent regulations aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
They include a travel ban to high-risk countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and China.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and attendant travel restrictions, resulted in substantial decline in demand for air travel. The situation led to many airlines around the world to ground aircraft, release their employees and to cancel flights. In the case of SAA, this decision means that SAA will only render services on its regional and domestic routes,” the national airline says in a statement.
Below is SAA’s full statement:
SAA will be hard hit
This week, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said SAA, like many other airlines globally, will be hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.
SAA is currently under business rescue and has been struggling to keep its fleet airborne as its financial woes continue.
“Airlines throughout the world are going through financial difficulties. European airlines have asked for € 70 billion from the EU (European Union) to support them to survive. US airlines have asked their government $ 50 billion in order to survive. Some predict that the airline industry in its current form it won’t be existing beyond May this year. So this is the kind of difficulty the COVID-19 has created,” said Minister Gordhan.
In the video below, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula briefs the media on travel bans:
SA’s confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to 202
South Africa’s Health Minister has confirmed that the COVID-19 cases in the country have risen to 202. Free State has registered seven cases for the first time.
Briefing the media in Bloemfontein, Dr Zweli Mkhize urged South Africans to turn their homes into places of worship this Easter in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
Earlier, he visited the Brandwag Primary School in Bloemfontein, where screening of about 600 pupils is taking place.
A parent of one of the learners has tested positive to the virus.
In the video below, Mkhize speaks to the SABC News from the school:
The map below tracks coronavirus cases across the world:
VIDEO: Handwashing challenge: