Virgin Atlantic has extended its Heathrow-Shanghai flight suspension until March 28, as fears over the spread of the coronavirus continue.

The route was previously suspended until February 17.

The UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to mainland China, and advised those able to leave to do so.

British Airways has currently suspended all flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until February 29.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said:

“The health and safety of our customers and staff remains our absolute priority.

“We continue to monitor the coronavirus situation very carefully, including the latest guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which on Tuesday issued new guidance to UK citizens to leave China if they are able to do so.

“Given this new FCO advice, the increasing entry restrictions on recent visitors to mainland China, and our rigorous focus on safety, Virgin Atlantic has opted to extend the suspension of Heathrow-Shanghai operations until March 28, 2020.

“All passengers booked to travel should contact Virgin Atlantic to discuss their travel plans, with the option to receive a refund. They can contact our customer care team via our SMS messaging system +44 (0) 7481 339184.”

Virgin Australia has cancelled its Sydney-Hong Kong service from March 2, blaming a decline in market demand.

It had already planned to end its Melbourne-Hong Kong service from February 11, leaving the carrier with no flights to Hong Kong.

More airlines suspend flights to China over coronavirus fears