If you are visiting Italy soon – and especially the areas of Lombardy and Veneto in the north – you may be worried about coronavirus.
The Italian government has not yet announced how the virus has spread, but Lombardy’s capital is Milan, a centre for international travel – and the carnival in Venice has been taking place this week, although today it has been cancelled. The airport at Milan is a hub for travel to cities like Verona, Bologna and Venice.
So far, only two cases of coronavirus have been announced in Rome, but as early as the beginning of February, the BBC was reporting that Chinese tourists in Rome were being singled out – one bar has been banning Chinese customers and a Chinese restaurant in Rome has seen a huge fall in the number of customers eating there. It is reported Chinese visitors have also been barred from visiting the Trevi Fountain in central Rome.
But for British nationals travelling to Italy soon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued the latest information:
On February 22, the government of Italy introduced (Italian) extraordinary measures that includes the isolation of 10 small towns in Lombardy: Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano; and 1 in Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo. Latest figures report 88 cases in Lombardy and 24 in Veneto (as of 23 February).
If you are already in Lombardy or Veneto you should follow the instructions of local authorities in Lombardy (Italian) and Veneto (Italian). For British Nationals in affected areas, Public Health England advise that you should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms.
On 30 January 2020, the Italian Ministry of Health announced two confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Rome.
Call Italy’s 112 emergency number if you believe you have symptoms. English speaking operators are available.
The FCO travel advice website can be checked for updates on the coronavirus situation in Italy.
If you have recently returned from Italy to the UK and feel unwell, contact the NHS on 111 and self-isolate i.e. don’t go out or travel – and don’t attend a GP surgery or A&E. Those in Northern Ireland should call 0300 200 7885.
You can check the symptoms of coronavirus on the NHS website.
The virus is spread by droplets, so cover mouth when coughing, carry tissues to catch sneezes and wash hands frequently.