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Coronavirus Concerns for European Holidaymakers

26th February 2020

Several European countries have confirmed new cases of the Coronavirus, including some of the most popular winter/spring destinations for British holidaymakers. For the first time, the spread of new cases is higher outside of China than within, the World Health Organisation has called the rise in cases outside of mainland China as “deeply concerning”.

It’s thought that Northern Italy is at the epicentre of the European outbreak with Austria, Croatia, Greece and Switzerland confirming their first cases after citizens travelled to Italy. In Tenerife more than a thousand tourists have been quarantined in a hotel as an Italian doctor who had recently stayed at the hotel tested positive for the potentially deadly flu-like disease.

On the 25th February, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced that it was advising against all but essential travel to several small towns in the Lombardy and Veneto regions in Northern Italy, which are popular with skiers at this time of year.

This has caused concern for those holidaymakers due to travel to Northern Italy in the coming days and weeks, as airlines have refused to refund flights of those travelling to areas outside of the specific FCO restricted zones.

EasyJet has produced a statement online:

“We are aware that the Italian authorities are taking some additional measures in response to cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

There is currently no change to advice for airlines, so our flights are operating as normal and standard terms and conditions on tickets continue to apply.”

Please note that most tour operators, travel insurers and airlines will not offer cover for cancellation or offer refunds unless official advice has been given by the FCO that it’s not safe to travel to your destination.

If you’re due to travel soon, it’s recommended that you keep up to date with the latest foreign travel advice from the FCO. If your destination is within a restricted area contact your tour operator or airline for further advice.

If you have recently travelled to a country affected by the Coronavirus and your concerned about becoming unwell, the NHS website has a page dedicated to the Coronavirus with information and advice on how to stay healthy.

If you have a travel insurance policy with Direct Travel, and you have any concerns about the Coronavirus affecting your trip, please contact us and we’ll talk things through with you.