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El Al Suspends Flights to Beijing over Coronavirus
People wear face masks on January 30 at a street market in Hong Kong, where at least 10 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed at the time. (Miguel Candela/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

El Al Suspends Flights to Beijing over Coronavirus

El Al, the national airline of Israel, has announced it is suspending flights to China’s capital out of concerns of the spread of coronavirus. The flight due back in Israel from Beijing on Thursday will be the last in either direction until at least March 25. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry in the United Arab Emirates announced that medical personnel there had diagnosed what are believed to be the first cases of coronavirus in the Middle East. China is a popular destination for Israeli tourists and businesspeople. Other airlines have also suspended flights, or reduced their schedules. The death toll from coronavirus on the Chinese mainland has reached at least 170 since ground zero was identified in recent days as having been a live-animal market in the eastern city of Wuhan. Chinese health officials now say that more people have been infected in the latest outbreak of a deadly, flu-like illness than were infected in 2002-3 during an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, better known as SARS.

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