Indonesia latest country to halt all flights to China over novel coronavirus

Indonesia will temporarily halt flights to and from China today, joining a growing list of countries taking aggressive measures to

indonesia china virus

Photo: Reuters

Indonesia will temporarily halt flights to and from China today, joining a growing list of countries taking aggressive measures to counter coronavirus.

The ban on flights to and from China comes after Jakarta flew home 243 Indonesians from China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus. Those evacuated will be quarantined for two weeks on a military base to ensure that they are not infected.

Indonesia joins Russia, Israel, the US, the Philippines and others in closing their borders to flights from China.

Economists are increasingly worried about the affect of coronavirus on developing countries in Southeast Asia, where Chinese tourism accounts for a substantial portion of GDP growth. For example, the one million-plus Chinese tourists that visited the Philippines in 2018 contributed to 12.7% of the archipelago’s GDP.

Expect coronavirus to significantly disrupt tourism-reliant economies in the short-term as cancelled flights and trips have cascading effects on industries from accommodation and entertainment to agriculture. The SARS outbreak of 2003-2004 eliminated around $40 billion in wealth from the world economy. China’s substantial growth and integration with the global economy since then means that the damage caused by this crisis could be substantially greater.

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