Countries quarantine, restrict travel to Italy due to coronavirus fears

Countries that have implemented measures include Mauritius, Austria, France, Taiwan and Ireland. Israel and Tunisia could potentially follow soon.

People wearing face masks ride bicycles and scooters on the street, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 24, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS)
People wearing face masks ride bicycles and scooters on the street, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 24, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS)
Numerous countries closed their borders and issued travel warnings to Italy due to the massive outbreak of coronavirus within the country, multiple reports confirmed.
The outbreak in Italy is the most severe in Europe, with at least 220 confirmed cases and seven deaths, most of them heavily concentrated in the country's northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto – both of which have been sealed off by the Italian government – and most notably in the city of Milan.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said that residents could face lockdowns in order to stave off the virus, and that these "extraordinary measures" could last several weeks, according to the BBC.
On Monday, Ireland said its citizens should not travel to parts of Italy affected by the coronavirus.
"There has been an increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy... Citizens are advised not to travel to affected areas," the Irish Foreign Ministry said on its website on travel advice updated on Monday.
France on Monday blocked the passengers of a coach that had traveled from the Italian city of Milan to Lyon over concerns one Italian on board might be suffering from the coronavirus, local health authorities said.
Police put up a security cordon around the bus and moved the passengers into an area of the Lyon Perrache bus station where they would not come into contact with other travelers. The passenger showing flu-like symptoms was taken to hospital.
The French government also issued guidelines on Monday telling parents whose children had visited China, Hong Kong, Singapore or Italy's Lombardy region, or who had come into contact with people from there, during the February holidays to keep their children at home.
Mauritius told passengers from Lombardy and Veneto aboard an Alitalia aircraft that they would either have to go into quarantine or else fly straight back home.
Alitalia said 40 out of the 224 passengers and crew were affected by the ban and decided to leave the Indian Ocean island immediately.
Hungary quarantined 15 people, including 11 secondary school students, after they returned from Northern Italy, Hungary Today reported. They will remain in quarantine for two weeks, and the Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry has discouraged all travel to Northern Italy.
Tunisia announced on Monday that it may suspend some flights to Italy to reduce its exposure to the coronavirus.
Austria blocked a train from Italy at its border on Sunday because of concerns over the health of two travelers.
On Sunday, Taiwan raised its travel advisories regarding Italy and Iran, according to Taiwan News.
Reports have suggested that Israel is also mulling over potentially restricting citizens from Italy and Australia from entering the country, and potentially quarantining some of them here.
"I suggest Israelis not travel to Italy," Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman said to Army Radio, according to i24 News. "We are examining the possibility of placing Italy and Australia on the list of countries from which travelers must be quarantined upon their return to Israel.
We will not be afraid to enforce the quarantine.


Tags italy