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Flight Centre says the coronavirus outbreak will make it difficult to achieve its fiscal 2020 profit guidance.

The travel services provider said the virus was affecting its early second half travel patterns, particularly in Asia.

The company had previously pegged its underlying profit before tax forecast for fiscal 2020 at between $310 million to $350 million.

Managing director Graham Turner says it is too early to predict the virus’s overall impact.

But the outbreak has already adversely affected Flight Centre’s small corporate travel operations in China, Singapore and Malaysia.

He said other areas that could be affected in the upcoming months included corporate travel, leisure travel and Cross Hotels and Resorts.

In mainland China, the number of deaths from the virus outbreak stood at 636 by Thursday, more than doubling in just under a week, with infections at 31,161.

The company is encouraging employees to take leave over the next few weeks to reduce the impact on its business in mainland China and Hong Kong, it added in its statement.

For the six months to December 31, Flight Centre expects to report an underlying profit before tax of between $100 million and $105 million, slightly above the mid-point of its forecast range.

Its shares fell as much as 3.8 per cent to $39.16, its worst daily performance in 10 days.