Coronavirus briefly halts flights to New York

New York (AFP) –


Flights were briefly suspended to New York and Philadelphia on Saturday because of staffing problems caused by the coronavirus, aviation officials said.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told air traffic controllers to stop all departures to New York's JFK, LaGuardia, Newark and other airports "due to staffing issues."

It lifted the order -- which also included airports in the Philadelphia area -- after around 30 minutes.

The airports are "now able to accept arrivals," the FAA said in its updated advisory.

It came a day after the FAA said an air traffic controller assigned to JFK airport tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The illness has claimed 278 lives in the US and infected more than 22,000 people, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.