Brits warned against visiting northern Italy as coronavirus death toll rises

Two tourists from Argentina wearing respiratory masks walk while holding a tourist map in Piazza Duomo in Milan, on March 5. 2020. - Italy closed all schools and universities until March 15 to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus crisis. The government decision was announced moments after health officials said the death toll from COVID-19 had jumped to 107 and the number of cases had passed 3,000. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP) (Photo by PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP via Getty Images)
Milan, the capital on Lombardy, will be on lockdown as part of tough new measures to fight coronavirus (Picture: AFP)

The Foreign Office has advised British tourists to avoid all but essential travel to several areas in coronavirus-hit northern Italy, including the popular destinations of Venice and Milan.

British nationals are still able to leave Italy without restriction, the FCO added.

Around 16 million people, more than a quarter of the Italian population, have been placed under lockdown as the country’s government tries to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Italy has now registered more cases of coronavirus (7,375) than any country outside China, while its death toll has risen to 366.

Extraordinary measures put in place across Italy, affecting museums, cinemas, shopping centres and restaurants, will be in place until April 3.

A man wearing a protective mask walks past the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) in Venice, Italy, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Authorities in Italy decided to re-open schools and museums in some of the areas less hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak in the country which has the most cases outside of Asia, as Italians on Friday yearned for a return to normal life even amid fears that the outbreak could plunge the country's economy into recession. (Claudio Furlan/Lapresse via AP)
A man wearing a protective mask walks past the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) in Venice, Italy (Picture: AP)

In response, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) widened the area covered by its travel advice on Sunday evening to warn against all but essential travel to a number of areas.

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The advice covers the Lombardy region, including the cities of Milan, Bergamo and Como, and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini – all in the Emilia Romagna region.

Also included are Pesaro and Urbino in the Marche region; Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli in the Piemonte region; and Padova, Treviso and Venice in the Veneto region.

Previously the FCO had only advised against all but essential travel to ten small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto that had been put in isolation by the Italian authorities.

In guidance published on its website, the FCO said British nationals are still able to leave Italy without restriction.

TOPSHOT - A young tourist wearing a protective facemask and a Carnival mask visits the streets of Venice, on February 24, 2020 during the usual period of the Carnival festivities which the last two days have been cancelled due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 the novel coronavirus, in northern Italy. - Italy reported on February 24, 2020 its fourth death from the new coronavirus, an 84-year old man in the northern Lombardy region, as the number of people contracting the virus continued to mount. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A young tourist wearing a protective facemask and a Carnival mask visits the streets of Venice (Picture: Getty)

Its advice added: “Residents of other parts of Italy are permitted to leave the isolation areas to return home.

“Otherwise entry into and exit from these areas is forbidden without official permission on the grounds of strict necessity; the authorities have confirmed to us that this will be granted for reasons such as medical need or work requirements.”

Travellers are being told to check their flight details with airlines.

Italian airline Alitalia has suspended all national and international flights from Milan’s Malpensa airport, starting on Monday.

The Department of Health and Social Care is advising people who have travelled to the UK from lockdown areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days to self-isolate, even if they have no symptoms.

Travellers should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.

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