Last Direct Flight to Mainland China Takes Off From SFO

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The last direct flight to Mainland, China from the Bay Area took off Friday from San Francisco International Airport.

All commercial airlines have suspended most flights between the U.S. and China through March because of continuing concerns about the coronavirus and as China struggles to contain infections, businesses in the Bay are also beginning to take big precautions.  

China Southern Airlines arrived at SFO at about 5:30 p.m. and that same jet returned to Guangzhou at about 10:30 p.m.

“I was lucky,” said passenger Jing Wu. “I was planning this last flight on the 14th, I was, man I don't want to stay over there for a whole three months, you know?"

For now, the planned suspension of flights will stretch for at least six weeks for some foreign carriers.

American carriers like United have announced flight suspensions to China until early April.

Henry Mai patiently waited for his wife to arrive. She's been in China for weeks and has told him about a very quiet Chinese New Year celebration there.

"Everything's quiet,” Mai said. “The restaurants only offer foods for to go, not for eat in. The shopping malls closed."

Concerns about having large groups of people together are also prompting companies in San Francisco to take action. Facebook cancelled its upcoming global marketing conference in March. About 4,000 people were expected at that event at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

IBM said in a statement it will not participate in the upcoming RSA Computer Security Conference there later in February, "the health of IBM-ers is our primary concern as we continue to monitor upcoming events and travel relative to novel coronavirus."

Adding to concerns in the U.S., Hawaii health officials are now notifying people who may have been in contact with a Japanese tourist who just tested positive for coronavirus but didn't have any symptoms while on vacation in Honolulu.        

"Our focus is who this person might have sat down with, had conversations with, those are the kind of things that we're looking for,” said Hawaii State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

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