Montenegro halts national air carrier's flights due to coronavirus

BELGRADE, March 16 (Reuters) - Montenegro on Monday temporarily halted flights of its national air carrier Montenegro Airlines and all international railway and bus lines, in an effort to pre-empt the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

The former Yugoslav republic has tested dozens of people, but has so far not reported a single case of coronavirus infection. Over 390 people remain in quarantine.

“All international public air, railroad and road transport is suspended. We will facilitate the return of our own citizens to Montenegro,” the government said in a statement.

The Montenegro Airlines which relies on state funding, maintains flights to 21 destinations, including Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany, hard-hit with the coronavirus disease. In a separate statement the company said flights are suspended until April 1.

Last week, Montenegro’s health authorities banned public gatherings, closed schools and restaurants, and some border crossings with Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia Kosovo and Albania to try to curb the spread of the disease.

The country, which earns most of its revenue from tourism, also last week closed its ports and marinas for all incoming cruiser ships and yachts. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)