A couple in China has left their two young children behind in an airport after their son – who had a fever – was banned from flying amid an outbreak of a new deadly virus, according to Chinese media.
It is said the parents deserted their son and daughter by the departure gate and boarded the flight on their own in the eastern city of Nanjing, leaving airline workers and other passengers in shock.
The news comes as the country is ravaged by a new strain of coronavirus, which has killed at least 26 people. Its symptoms are typically a fever, cough and trouble breathing. Cities across China have tightened health checks at transport hubs.
The children were eventually allowed to board the domestic plane, reported local newspaper Yangzi Evening News.
Pictures emerging on social media show two children (left) left behind by their parents in an airport in China. It is reported the couple boarded the plane on their own after staff prevented their son from flying because he had a fever. The incident caused a three-hour delay (right)
The incident came to light when a blogger posted pictures of the children on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.
The blogger claimed that a couple were causing a scene in Nanjing Lukou International Airport after one of their children were prevented from flying due to a fever.
One of the pictures posted by the web user shows two children sitting on seats in a boarding lounge unattended.
Another two images show passengers waiting by the departure gate.
According to Nanjing-based Yangzi Evening News, the incident happened on Wednesday night in Nanjing Lukou International Airport, which serves the provincial capital of Jiangsu.
Cities across China have tightened health screening at transport hubs in a bid to curb the deadly outbreak. At least 10 cities in China, home to around 33million people, have gone into some form of lockdown in the past couple of days after number of confirmed cases surged
The new form of coronavirus has killed 26, but experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be over 10,000 as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases
The family were trying to fly from Nanjing to Changsha with flight MF8040 operated by Xiamen Airlines.
‘It seems the boy’s body temperature was 38.5 degrees Celsius,’ one passenger who witnessed the event told Yangzi Evening News.
‘The airline company did not allow [the boy] to board the plane, but the children’s parents would not agree,’ the passenger added.
It was alleged that the couple blocked the departure gate, insisting that workers let their children through.
The chaos lasted for nearly two hours and police officers arrived to mediate between the protesting parents and the airline.
‘At last, workers let the adults onto the plane,’ claimed the passenger, who added that the children were simply left to sit in the airport by themselves.’
The outbreak happens as the country celebrates the Chinese New Year, which starts tomorrow
The deadly coronavirus ravaging Asia is far more contagious than previously thought and someone who is infected can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze
The airport authority later told the reporter that the children were eventually allowed to board and were arranged to be seated at the front of the cabin.
Some of the passengers said they were concerned about flying with the sick boy.
The two-hour flight was delayed for more than three hours and took off at 1:12am on Wednesday, according to the airport.
The deadly coronavirus ravaging Asia is far more contagious than previously thought and someone who is infected can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze.
It has so far killed 26 people and infected more than 830 in at least 10 countries and regions within three weeks.
But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be over 10,000 as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases.
Part of the Great Wall of China and Disneyland in Shanghai have been closed to stop people spreading the deadly Wuhan coronavirus, Chinese officials have announced.
At least 10 cities in China, home to around 33million people, have gone into some form of lockdown in the past couple of days, with public transport halted and roads closed down.
CORONAVIRUS: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
What is this virus?
The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild respiratory infections such as the common cold.
But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Can it kill?
Yes. Twenty-six people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Its symptoms are typically a fever, cough and trouble breathing, but some patients have developed pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening infection that causes inflammation of the small air sacs in the lungs. People carrying the novel coronavirus may only have mild symptoms, such as a sore throat. They may assume they have a common cold and not seek medical attention, experts fear.
How is it detected?
The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China to the rest of the world to enable other countries to quickly diagnose potential new cases. This helps other countries respond quickly to disease outbreaks.
To contain the virus, airports are detecting infected people with temperature checks. But as with every virus, it has an incubation period, meaning detection is not always possible because symptoms have not appeared yet.
How did it start and spread?
The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Cases have since been identified elsewhere which could have been spread through human-to-human transmission.
What are countries doing to prevent the spread?
Countries in Asia have stepped up airport surveillance. They include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.
Australia and the US are also screening patients for a high temperature, and the UK announced it will screen passengers returning from Wuhan.
Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?
Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere
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