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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has extended its advice against all but essential travel to all of Italy, following a countrywide lockdown after a steep rise in Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
Originally, the advice only covered a few small towns in the north of Italy but the Italian government took the decision to impose a lockdown over large parts of the north over the weekend, thought to affect over 16 million people. However, the Italian government was criticised for not preventing travel in and out of the areas, with no checkpoints or police presence on the regional boarders.
Yesterdays decision to shutdown the whole of the country, has meant that the FCO has increased its warnings in line with the Italian government advice. It’s thought that the Italian government will review the spread of the virus, and therefore it’s lockdown on 3rd April.
If you’re due to travel to Italy before the 3rd April 2020, the first thing to do is to contact your tour operator or travel provider to see if you are entitled to rebook your trip or request a refund. If you are not entitled to a refund then contact your travel insurance claim department for consideration, you can find your claims information on your policy wording.
It’s worth considering that the FCO’s advice may change after the review on 3rd April, so if you’re travelling after this date some providers may not be willing to offer refunds for trips, excursions and events after this time.
If you feel unwell, government advice is to call Italy’s emergency number 112, where English speaking operators can take your call. You’re also advised to contact your insurers Emergency Medical Assistance Team as soon as you are able, they can offer you help and advice on what do if you are unwell.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have said that British Nationals can still travel home without restriction, as long as they are well, and most airports in Italy remain open. However, many flights are being rescheduled or cancelled so it’s worth checking with your travel plans with your airline directly.
The Department of Health and Social Care have advised all travellers returning from Italy form the 9th March, should stay at home and avoid contact with others for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms.
If you do experience symptoms once you are home, call the NHS on 111 and stay at home. Do not travel to your GP’s surgery or hospital as you could put vulnerable people at risk.
Direct Travel have a dedicated page to your questions about the Coronavirus and how it may affect your travel plans here – Coronavirus (COVID 19) .
Keep up to date about any changes to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice here – here.
If you or any of your travelling party feel unwell, and you suspect that you may have symptoms of the Coronavirus visit 111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19 – or call 111 if you’re in the UK.