Cathay Pacific said it was halting flights between Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok International Airport and Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday, citing measures imposed by the Israeli Ministry of Health to counter the novel coronavirus outbreak.In a statement, the Hong Kong flag carrier announced it will stop daily flights on the route from February 24 until March 28. The airline launched its inaugural route between Hong Kong and Israel in March 2017, initially offering flights four times a week before expanding its service. “The company will assist passengers affected by the flight cancellations by finding suitable arrangements,” the airline said. “Cathay Pacific believes in the route between Israel and Hong Kong and its contribution to the importance of Israeli-Hong Kong relations, and will be delighted to return to flying to Israel when restrictions of movement are removed.”The airline cited measures imposed by the Health Ministry as the reason for the cancellation of flights. Under expanded measures announced by Israeli authorities on Monday, entry to Israel will not be permitted to foreign nationals who have visited Hong Kong, Thailand, Macao and Singapore during the past two weeks. A similar measure was implemented for visitors arriving from China at the beginning of the month.Since the start of the outbreak, the airline has been hit hard by travel restrictions and plunging demand. Inbound passenger traffic to Hong Kong in January 2020 decreased 40% compared to January 2019, according to figures published on Monday. In late January, Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Cathay Dragon said it would halve the capacity of flights to and from mainland China until the end of March.“Our performance deteriorated rapidly in the last week of January as the novel coronavirus situation became more severe, and it continues to weaken significantly,” said Ronald Lam, Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commercial Officer.Responding to dropping demand, the airline has reduced its global passenger flight capacity by approximately 40% for February and March, and a similar reduction is likely to continue into April.Last week, Israeli flag carrier El Al said it was “temporarily stopping” its six weekly flights to Hong Kong until March 20, and halving services to Bangkok. All flights were halted to Beijing – El Al’s only mainland Chinese destination – on January 30, and are currently frozen until April 24.