Tourists take a selfie at St Peter's Square on 5 March 2020 in Rome Italy
Tourists take a selfie at St Peter's Square on 5 March 2020 in Rome Italy

Coronavirus: Travellers returning from anywhere in Italy told to self-isolate if they experience symptoms

Foreign Office updates its travel advice

Helen Coffey
Friday 06 March 2020 11:57
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Britons returning home from anywhere in Italy are now being told to self-isolate if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Italy rises to 3,858, resulting in 148 deaths at the time of writing.

Previously, FCO advice was to only self-isolate if you exhibited symptoms having been to northern Italy (north of Pisa). That guidance now applies to the whole country, as the UK confirmed its first Covid-19 fatality on 5 March.

“Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild,” says the FCO advice.

The list of destinations includes: mainland China outside of Hubei province; Italy outside of the lockdown areas; South Korea outside of the special care zones; Cambodia; Hong Kong; Japan; Laos; Macau; Malaysia; Myanmar; Singapore; Taiwan; and Thailand.

There are 11 villages still on “lockdown” in Italy: Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano in Lombardy and Vo’ Euganeo in Veneto.

Anyone returning from these is advised to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms.

In its Italy travel advice, the FCO is only advising against going to the lockdown areas. For those booked to visit anywhere else in the country, travel insurance will not cover the cost if they pull out of a trip.

However, many airlines have drastically reduced flight capacity and may offer passengers the choice of claiming a refund or rebooking for a later date.

For example, British Airways customers booked to travel between London and northern Italian destinations including Milan (Linate and Malpensa), Turin, Bologna, Venice, Bergamo and Verona up to 15 March 2020 can rebook to a later travel date up to 3 April 2020.

It comes as thousands of Italians are due to descend on Dublin this weekend for the Six Nations Rugby, despite the Ireland-Italy match having been cancelled amid the virus outbreak.

The Irish government has advised that special health protocols are in place for travellers.

Prior to disembarking, passengers from Italy will be told to “contact their GPs should they develop symptoms within the following 14 days”.

All travellers are being told to fill in forms to help trace anyone they may have come into contact with in the event that they contract coronavirus.

Airlines flying into Ireland will also need to decontaminate the aircraft according to WHO aviation hygiene standards.

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