Belgian travel agencies will begin cancelling all trip packages to China as the death and sickness toll from a deadly outbreak coronavirus gripping the country continues to rise.
The ABTO association of travel agencies in Belgium said it had informed its members of advice issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which doubled down on recommendations to avoid travelling to several Chinese provinces.
“Our members will begin cancelling their trips to China,” ABTO said, referring to around 70 tour operators and travel services companies affiliated with it.
On Thursday, the death toll of the pulmonary illness which has put scores of Chinese cities on lockdown rose to 170, with the count of confirmed illnesses set at 7,711 according to Chinese authorities.
Since it broke out at the end of January, the illness has spread to countries outside of China, including in the US, with the first European cases confirmed in France at the weekend, with the first human to human transmission confirmed in Germany on Wednesday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) called an emergency meeting to decide on whether to declare the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” its director announced.
Travel operators will propose alternatives to their customers affected by the cancellations, which could range from a refund to arranging new travel itineraries.