Cargolux normally operates 132 weekly scheduled flights to and from China, a country which represents 7.26% of its market share, according to the Cargolux website
Photo: Sébastien Goossens/archives
While no cases of the Coronavirus have yet been reported in Luxembourg, its spread is impacting the country’s diplomatic and business activities abroad.
Luxembourg-based air cargo firm Cargolux has introduced an embargo on the transport of live animals out of China, a country to and from which it has 40 weekly scheduled flights and which represents 7.26% of its market share.
A Cargolux representative told Delano on Thursday that the number of Cargolux flights to China had been scaled down anyway because of a lull in production during the Chinese New Year. “However, given the circumstances, the festive period has been extended, which entails the extension of the production slowdown in factories and factory closings. The flights will be re-instated in accordance with factory production,” the spokesperson said.
In addition, the air freight firm has introduced a raft of precautionary measures to protect its staff, including issuing personal protective equipment like disinfectant tissues and masks, as well as guidance on how to reduce the risk of contamination.
The virus, which causes pneumonia, started in the city of Wuhan, in China, in December 2019. It spread rapidly from 20 January onwards as a result of people travelling home for Chinese New Year Celebrations. According to the World Health Organization’s figures for 30 January, the Wuhan Coronavirus is responsible for the deaths of 170 people in China with 7,818 confirmed infections globally, in countries including France and Germany.
Earlier this week, the health ministry issued a statement saying that the probability of the virus spreading to the grand duchy was low but the situation was constantly being monitored. An emergency response plan has been formulated in the event a suspected case is identified in the country.
Unlike the UK and Japan, Luxembourg has not evacuated its citizens from China. However, its embassy in Beijing was closed on Thursday and Friday to reduce the spread of the virus. On the embassy page of the foreign affairs ministry, it indicated that until 17 Feb, its visa section will only treat the most urgent requests.