March 18, 2020 / 9:51 AM / 12 days ago

Vietnam's Vietjet Air suspends ASEAN flights as coronavirus concerns escalate

HANOI, March 18 (Reuters) - Budget airline Vietjet Air said on Tuesday it will suspend its flights to major Southeast Asian destinations from Friday due to the coronavirus.

The Vietnamese government on Monday introduced a mandatory quarantine for visitors from the United States, Europe, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

Weeks after announcing the recovery of all 16 of its coronavirus sufferers, Vietnam said it now has 68 infections - 52 of them detected since March 6.

The sudden uptick was traced to a flight from London that landed on March 2, and a religious gathering in Malaysia, authorities said. There have been no deaths in the country.

“The suspension is in line with the government’s quarantine policy,” VietJet Air said in a statement on its website.

“Flights between Vietnam and Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia will be halted from March 20,” it added.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has also suspended all flights to and from France and Malaysia from Wednesday and is considering cutting down flights to other Southeast Asian destinations.

Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines are two carriers in the country operating Southeast Asian routes, with multiple flights to different cities each day. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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