Business

Air Canada suspends flights to and from Italy

By Lorraine Graves

Published 4:45 PDT, Tue March 10, 2020

Last Updated: 4:34 PDT, Fri March 27, 2020

With one quarter of Italy’s population under quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19, Air Canada today announced it will suspend all flights in and out of Italy. The last flight is due to leave Toronto today for Rome. The last flight from Italy to Canada departs on Wednesday, March 11. 

Air Canada has already suspended flights between Canada and China, a suspension recently extended until April 10. The airline has also rerouted all Hong Kong flights through Vancouver due to reduced demand. 

Italy has seen over 9,000 COVID-19 cases and 631 deaths at press time. With just over half Italy’s population, Canada has seen 79 cases, 32 of which are in British Columbia, and one death at a seniors care home.

“We have full confidence in the Canadian healthcare system to detect and prevent the spread of coronavirus, including effective airport screening,” says Vancouver Airport Authority president and CEO Craig Richmond.

Health officials have been clear that while the virus is contagious, you can only catch it from someone who shows symptoms. Because of that, anyone with respiratory symptoms resembling cold or flu is asked to self-isolate and then call their doctor or the provincial healthline at 811 to ask about testing.

Health officials also caution that wearing a face mask when you are not ill will not protect you. Authorities ask healthy people to stop buying masks so that those who are sick, or who work in health care, can use them. Panic buying has caused a shortage that can leave healthcare workers at risk. 

Anyone looking for reliable information on the outbreak can visit https://www.yvr.ca/en/coronavirus. This site provides information on what to do if you think you might have the virus and how to prevent the spread. 

“Now is the time for facts not fear, science not rumour,” says Richmond.

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