Foreign Office updates travel advice for Brits heading to Italy after coronavirus outbreak

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The Foreign Office is now advising against “all but essential” travel to Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak in some parts of the country.

The new advice was issued on Wednesday.

A spokesman said: "We advise against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto, which are currently in isolation due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus.

"Any British nationals already in these towns should follow the advice of the local authorities."

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The Home Office has updated its travel advice for Italy, advising against "all but essential" travel. Photo by Betsy Joles/Getty Images.The Home Office has updated its travel advice for Italy, advising against "all but essential" travel. Photo by Betsy Joles/Getty Images.
The Home Office has updated its travel advice for Italy, advising against "all but essential" travel. Photo by Betsy Joles/Getty Images. | Getty Images

The new advice reads: "The FCO advises against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d'Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo' Euganeo) which have been isolated by the Italian authorities due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier said he was "not planning" a trip to northern Italy, noting that official advice was for those who have been to anywhere in Italy north of Pisa to self-isolate if they develop flu-like symptoms on their return to the UK.

He told Sky News: "We don't think there are any Brits in the area that has been quarantined by the Italian government but the Government does not track where people move around Europe, so if people are in that area then they should get in contact and we will do what we can to help."

Dr Nathalie MacDermott, academic clinical lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases at King's College London, urged people to contact their insurers before travel and be prepared to quarantine themselves if necessary.

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"There are multiple factors that come into play when you make a decision about travelling somewhere," she told a Science Media Centre briefing.

"One of them is 'is my travel insurance going to cover me if I travel there?' and 'am I prepared that if I go there that when I return I might have to isolate myself for 14 days, and is my employer or my child's school aware of that and will that be acceptable to them?'