German tour firm TUI suspends most operations over virus

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Aircrafts are parked on a runway at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Due to the Coronavirus Lufthansa had to cancel half of its flights. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

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BERLIN (AP) — German-based tour company TUI says it is suspending most of its operations until further notice in light of the deepening coronavirus crisis and applying for government help.

Travel has decreased sharply as more and more countries apply tough new restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Germany has joined other nations in advising against nonessential travel abroad, warning of a high risk of being unable to get back home.

TUI said late Sunday night it has decided “to suspend the vast majority of all travel operations until further notice, including package travel, cruises and hotel operations.”

It withdrew its earnings guidance for this year and said it was refraining from issuing new guidance in the current circumstances.

“We are taking substantial cost measures to mitigate the earnings effect,” TUI said. “Moreover, we have decided to apply for state aid guarantees to support the business until normal operations are resumed.”

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 169,000 people and killed more than 6,500. The COVID-19 illness is mild or moderate for most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or people with existing health problems. More than 77,000 people have recovered from it so far, mostly in China.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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