Dubai, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Emirates, a Dubai-based international airline, announced Sunday it would temporarily suspend all passenger operations from Wednesday over the COVID-19 outbreak.
"The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of the state-owned carrier, in a statement.
"We find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns," he added.
Amidst an increasing number of travel bans, restrictions and country lockdowns across the world, Emirates has aimed to maintain passenger flights for as long as feasible to help travelers return home, the company said in the statement.
The company noted its strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity which, it believes, can "adequately" support its survival through the trying period.
The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced 13 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 153, state TV Farida Al Hosani reported.