The Chronicle Gambia

Coronavirus: Two Airlines Shut Down Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak Leaving Travelers Devastated

Royal Air Maroc and Brussels Airlines are facing a widespread shutdown over coronavirus fears after airlines announced new flight reductions as more countries introduced travel bans and isolation requirements.

The two airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Brussels Airlines, stated today that it would start implementing a phased suspension of flights from Monday, March 16th to April 1st, amid reduced demand and travel restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

But travelers are furious with the measures taken by the airlines.

One traveler shared “My situation would be better in Europe because if I get sick I’ll have a better supply than staying here…And I want to now find the possibility of finding an airline to get a ticket out and that means spending extra money. In Germany I can’t go back to the job I do so it basically means going back to bankruptcy…so I am at the moment a little bit lost to be honest.”

Travelers gathered at Air Maroc offices in Senegambia

A couple explained how the termination of flights will affect their jobs in Europe, leaving them with no possible options.

“We are currently stuck here in The Gambia as a result of the airlines’ decision and that’s going to affect our businesses and jobs back home. We have no option whatsoever so we’ll just stick around until April 1st to see if flights will be open by then. It’s going to be an extra charge on us but what can we do?” says the German couple.

Measures Taken

The Gambian government has put in place preventive measures on the outbreak by suspending overseas travels for public officers.

“The relevant government authorities are actively monitoring this global health menace and will advise the Office of the President accordingly to review the suspension at the appropriate time,” a statement from the State House notes.

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 6,500 with over 174,614 cases worldwide, according to an estimate from Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources.

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