Coronavirus rattles airlines and airports

Cathay Pacific staff have been told they may wear face masks as and when they feel the need, US airports LAX and SFO and by now Seattle Tacoma, have all begun screening flights from the Wuhan region of China.

This morning the U.K. instituted scanning for travellers from Wuhan arriving at Heathrow – currently just one flight a day.

Airline shares took a drop as fears over the implications of the virus that causes flu-like symptoms that can quickly become fatal pneumonia in many people, spread.

Cases have been identified in Japan, Thailand and Washington state, and hundreds have been identified in Wuhan – experts say that already means thousands more are infected. The virus stemmed from what appears to be a sea food and poultry market and is contagious between humans.

With air travel the quickest way of spreading a virus, airlines and airports will be the front line to hold back the spread, just as the biggest Chinese travel period begins for their lunar new year.