by Associated Press | March 20, 2020
Less than three months ago came the first reports of cases of pneumonia related to a virus first detected in Wuhan, China. The outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruptions that have brought an unparalleled shock to the global economy. 

Following are developments Friday related to the outbreak, efforts by governments to stabilize their economies, travel companies that must navigate through an altered landscape, and the millions of people affected. 

The Transportation Security Administration is reporting the lowest number of passengers at U.S. airports ever recorded by the agency. Nearly 624,000 people passed through its outbound checkpoints on Thursday. That compares with 2.4 million on the same day a year earlier. It's the lowest number of outbound passengers ever recorded by the agency, which was created in November 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Hong Kong low-cost airline HK Express, part of the Cathay Pacific Group, is suspending all flights through the end of April with millions of potential travelers shutting in. HK Express normally flies 25 routes throughout Asia. Cathay's flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways, has cut 90 percent of its flights and asked staff to take unpaid leave. 

American Airlines is initiating cargo-only flights between the United States and Europe. FedEx and UPS were expecting to absorb a greater share of cargo typically carried by commercial airlines, which have severely cut capacity.

Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants, about 60 percent of that staff, according to a union official, as the country's largest airline grounds its planes. Wesley Lesosky, who heads the Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said the layoffs include 3,600 Air Canada employees, as well as 1,549 at Rogue, Air Canada's discount carrier. The layoffs will take effect by April. Air Canada says the layoffs are temporary. The Montreal company said earlier this week that it will suspend the majority of its international and U.S. flights by the end of the month.