Around three million British nationals visit Italy every year, but many travel plans have been thrown into chaos due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Here the PA news agency looks at nine key questions for travellers:
– How bad is the outbreak in Italy?
Italy has registered more cases of coronavirus than any country outside China, and has a death toll of 366.
– What is the travel advice?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel to swathes of northern Italy.
Due to the uncertainty around #Coronavirus #COVID19, weâve introduced a flexible change policy on all new flight and holiday bookings to any of our hundreds of destinations, meaning you can book with confidence. More info: https://t.co/OvVGSRdIO4 pic.twitter.com/Nm6Wi8swP2— British Airways (@British_Airways) March 3, 2020
– Are flights still operating?
Some flights are still running between the UK and northern Italy, but many have been cancelled by airlines such as British Airways and easyJet.
– If I’ve got a trip to one of the locations named in the FCO’s travel advice, can I get my money back?
Travel trade organisation Abta says that if you are booked on a package holiday in the next few days, the tour operator should offer you an alternative itinerary or a refund.
– What if my trip is not for a few weeks?
Tour operators are not obliged to offer refunds for holidays that are not imminent.
– How about if I’m due to visit a part of Italy not included in the FCO’s advice?
Ask your travel company if they are offering any flexibility on bookings.
– How about if I booked my flights and accommodation separately?
In the first instance, contract the firm you booked with to see if you can get a refund.
#Italy Summary and Health - from 8 March, Italian authorities extended the area of isolation to cover the whole of the Lombardy region and other provinces in northern Italy https://t.co/koiVX9ezT4 pic.twitter.com/9V6S2pBm8k— FCO travel advice (@FCOtravel) March 8, 2020
– Will travel insurance help?
It is not designed to cover cases where someone does not want to travel, even though the FCO has not issued new travel advice about their destination.
But if you are due to be in a location where the FCO is advising against travel, then you may be able to claim for non-refundable cancellation costs.
– What should travellers do when they return from Italy?
Advice for anyone returning from locked-down areas in the last 14 days is to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, even if they do not have symptoms of the coronavirus.
For those who have visited other parts of Italy in the past 14 days, you should self-isolate if you have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath.