Delta Adds New Procedures, Travel Restrictions Due To Coronavirus
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has made changes to its cleaning procedures, is waiving flight change fees and is restricting travel to certain countries in response to the spread of the newly identified coronavirus.
Delta said Wednesday it is limiting travel to Japan through April 30 and the airline will suspend summer seasonal service between Seattle and Osaka for 2020 in response to reduced demand due to COVID-19.
There is no official travel ban and airlines are making independent decisions on which travel to authorize. Many organizations such as universities have banned official travel to Italy and canceled study abroad programs.
The airline previously suspended all services to China and Italy. It also reduced the number of flights to South Korea last month.
Earlier this week, Delta offered travelers additional flexibility, waiving change fees for all flights booked between March 1-31 as well as international flights previously booked that are scheduled to fly in March.
As of Wednesday, there are more than 90,000 cases of COVID-19 on every continent except Antarctica. In the Unitied States, 128 cases have been reported in 14 states as of this morning. Georgia has two confirmed cases after a 56-year-old man returned from Italy and spread the disease to his son.
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Delta on Feb. 2 started using a “fogging technique” to disinfect planes. That technique involves an EPA-registered disinfectant and is used on flights arriving in the company's U.S. gateways from Asia, which includes Atlanta, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland and Seattle. Fogging procedures are currently being performed on all trans-Pacific arrivals into the U.S., but are not yet available on inbound international flights.
Delta is prioritizing adding the cleaning technique to trans-Atlantic inbound flights from markets with reported cases of coronavirus.
Staff on flights from Asia are taking additional precautions, including providing hand sanitizer and cleaning towels to passengers, increasing the number of gloves and masks for crew on board, and disinfecting carts and tableware, Delta said in a news release.
While there is no official ban on travel by Americans, foreign nationals who have traveled to Iran or mainland China in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter the U.S.
For up-to-date information about the novel coronavirus, please visit GPB.org/coronavirus.