The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to a large area of Northern Italy due to coronavirus.
The Italian government has quarantined a large area of the north of the country including major tourist cities including Milan and Venice.
A total of 7,375 cases of coronavirus – otherwise known as Covid-19 – have been confirmed in the country, the worst outbreak in Europe.
There have been 366 deaths attributed to the virus – as well as 622 recoveries.
The updated Foreign Office advice states: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the following areas in northern Italy, due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) and various control and isolation measures imposed by the Italian authorities on 8 March: Lombardy region (which includes the cities of Milan, Bergamo, Como) and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini (all in Emilia Romagna); Pesaro e Urbino (in Marche); Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli (all in Piemonte); Padova. Treviso and Venice (in Veneto).
“British nationals remain able to depart Italy without restriction. 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 should check flight details with airlines. Additional restrictions include the closure of museums, cultural institutions and the suspension of all public gatherings, social events including pubs, nightclubs and games halls.
“Religious ceremonies and funerals are suspended. Ski facilities in the affected mountain areas are closed. Restaurants and bars remain open from 06.00 to 18.00.”
A number of the positive cases confirmed in the UK are understood to be from holidaymakers returning from Italy.
The Foreign Office added: “Across the whole of Italy, museums and cultural institutions are closed and all sporting fixtures must be played behind closed doors. Childcare facilities, schools and universities are closed until 15 March. Public and social gatherings should be avoided with cinemas, pubs and clubs closed. Restaurants and bars remain open with reduced seating.
“If you’re returning to the UK from Italy, consult the latest advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on actions to take.
“You can find more information on measures on the Ministry of Health website (in Italian).
“Call Italy’s 112 emergency number if you believe you have symptoms. English speaking operators are available.”