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Last updated: 10th March 2020
Coronavirus, Italy and Travel Insurance
As a result of the ongoing and widely-reported coronavirus outbreak, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises 'against all but essential travel' to Italy as of 9th March.
What is coronavirus?
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, was its first reported cases originating in Wuhan, China. Due to its nature as a virus, there are currently no cures. It is a respiratory contagian that has come from contact with animals. In extreme cases it can cause pneumonia, with reported symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, high fever and respiratory difficulty.
Northern Italy coronavirus outbreak
As the coronavirus continues to spread globally, northern Italy has been identified as Europe's worst outbreak with the highest number of confirmed cases outside of Asia. As of 4th March 2020, there are 10 small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto which have since been completely isolated by the Italian authorities.
- Castiglione d'Adda
- Terranova dei Passerini
- San Fiorano
- Vo' Euganeo
As a consequence of the heightened media coverage of the coronavirus, there has been a rise in uncertainty within the travel industry with some customers being put off global travel. In accordance with the FCO's advice, British Airways (BA) has reduced its number of flights to northern Italy, affecting international airports such as Milan, Turin, Bologna, Venice and Bergamo. Please see here for the FCO's updated advice.
Areas affected in northern Italy have taken 'extraordinary measures', to quote the FCO. Large events have been cut short or rescheduled, museums and cultural sites have seen a temporary suspension, as well as the closure of some schools and universities.
Will the coronavirus in Italy affect my travel insurance?
If you think your travel plans may be disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, you should contact your tour operator, airline or travel agent to see if you are eligible for a refund or a change-of-date.
Please read the Holiday Extras coronavirus guidance page for more information.
Changing package holiday dates
We would advise travellers who have booked package holidays to a destination affected by the coronavirus and are looking to cancel their trip or amend their travel plans, to contact their travel agent or tour operator immediately. If you have spoken with your tour operator or travel agent and are offered alternative dates, we will in turn 'shift' your insurance policy without any adminstrative charges, providing that the new trip is for the same length of time and geographical region.
How to protect yourself against coronavirus
At the moment there are no cures for the coronavirus, so to reduce infection there are number of basic hygeine measures which you can practise in your day-to-day routine to prevent contraction:
- Regular hand washing
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
- Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illnesses
- If you suspect you have symptoms of coronavirus, or have had contact with someone who has it, ring NHS '111'
If you would like to read more information concerning specific symptoms and preventative measures, please consult the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Countries affected by coronavirus
Or maybe you're going on a cruise?
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