New Zealand airlines said Wednesday it will stop flying its passengers to Europe as the world’s first case of the Zika virus was confirmed in the country.
New Zealand Airlines said it will suspend operations for its Auckland, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports on Wednesday, following a travel alert from the World Health Organization.
The health organization says the new cases in the region of the Americas are the first of their kind since the outbreak began in Brazil.
More than 6,000 people in New Zealand have been infected with the virus, including more than 500 babies.
Some New Zealand flights have been grounded, but many others will be flying in the coming days, the company said.
“We are taking steps to manage our risk as we work to protect New Zealanders,” the company’s chief executive, Simon White, said in a statement.
We have identified additional risk to our passengers in this region and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure our operations are safe.
“The World Health Organisation says there are currently 4,917 confirmed Zika cases in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Zika has spread rapidly throughout the Americas, particularly in the Americas’ most populous nation, Brazil.
The World Health Assembly in March said the virus was likely to cause “serious harm” in the United States, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to issue a specific forecast.