Virgin Atlantic has suspended its Heathrow-Shanghai service for at least 14 days, with the last flight leaving the UK today.
Its Hong Kong service will continue to operate.
The airline announced late on Thursday it would suspend operations from Sunday February 2 but issued a statement shortly after saying it was bringing the date forward after the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a public health emergency.
It has since been confirmed that two people in the UK have the virus. The chief medical officer for England said they are members of the same family and are receiving specialist NHS care. They are believed to be Chinese tourists who were staying in the York area and who are being treated in Newcastle.
Virgin said: “We continue to monitor the coronavirus situation very carefully and following the WHO declaration of a public health emergency of international concern, Virgin Atlantic has brought forward the suspension of Heathrow-Shanghai operations, confirmed earlier today.
The airline said: “Flight VS250 to Shanghai will depart on Friday 31st January and the final inbound flight will be VS251 on Saturday 1st February.”
“This decision has been made with the safety of customers and staff at the front of our minds. All passengers booked to travel should contact Virgin Atlantic to discuss their travel plans, with the option to receive a refund.”
Earlier, Virgin said the decision was ‘based on our close monitoring of the ongoing situation, coupled with a declining demand to fly’.
It will continue to evaluate this over the coming days and weeks.
Affected passengers should contact the customer care team via Virgin’s SMS messaging system +44 (0) 7481 339184.