Airline and hotel shares fell Tuesday as fear grew about a virus that authorities say has killed six people and sickened 300 more, including at least one person in the U.S.
The outbreak of the new type of coronavirus is believed to have started in Wuhan in central China. No U.S. airlines fly to Wuhan, but their Chinese partner airlines do, and some passengers transfer from Chinese carriers to American ones.
Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs at the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group, said travelers should follow any guidance offered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, she said, that advice is very specific to travelers coming to and from Wuhan.
Investors worried that the virus could spread beyond Asia, like the SARS outbreak in 2002 which killed more than 700 people and hurt travel between the U.S. and Asia.
Shares of Hawaiian Airlines' parent fell 5.5% Tuesday. United Airlines shares dropped 4.4%, American Airlines lost 4.2%, and Delta Air Lines declined 2.7%.
Other stocks in the travel sector also took a hit Tuesday, including hotel chains like Marriott, which fell 4%, and Hilton, which was down 3%. Royal Caribbean Cruises slid 4%.
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