Updated on 28 February 2020
The situation in Italy has evolved and remains very fluid with respect to the COVID-19 virus and the precautions the government is taking. Travel to and from Italy has experienced some increased restrictions as outlined in this document. A wider outbreak could result in more quarantines not only in Italy, but in the form of more severe travel restrictions. Additional countries may also impose more or more severe restrictive measures and quarantines of travelers returning from Italy. Travel to Italy and all countries currently affected by the COVID-19 virus must be done with caution, heightened situational awareness and an understanding that the situation could change quickly.
As of 27 February, the number of cases in Italy stand at 655, with 45 recovered and 17 deaths. Cases jumped more than 50% in just 24 hours (Wednesday to Thursday) and Thursday’s report from the commissioner for the coronavirus emergency said that more than 400 of the cases are in the hard-hit Lombardy region. 56 patients are in intensive care of nearly 250 who are receiving treatment in hospital. Another 284 others who are infected are at home in isolation.
Brazil, Israel, France, Austria, Greece, Croatia and Switzerland have all reported cases of Covid-19 linked to recent travel to Italy. Israel has been the first to block all travelers from Italy unless they are Israeli citizens.
Number of Cases by Region:
Emilia Romagna: 97
Lazio: 3 (2 Chinese tourists & 1 researcher – all recovered)
Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano: 1
The spike in cases prompted the U.S. CDC to issue a Level 2 Travel Alert for Italy urging older adults and those with chronic medical conditions to consider postponing nonessential travel. The lockdowns in Lombardy and Veneto remain in place, while the government also warns against overreaction and fake news regarding the outbreak.
Italy won’t seek a suspension of the Schengen agreement but did implement emergency measures along its border with Slovenia. Another border country, Switzerland has reported 5 cases of Covid-19 this week. Health screenings are in place along the border.
Lockdown locations in Lombardy: Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano
Lockdown locations in Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo.
Entry and Exit Requirements (as of 25 February):
Italy has suspended flights from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as well as from Taiwan. There is currently no proposed date for lifting the travel restrictions.
While direct flights between Chinese points-of-origin and Italian destinations have been temporarily postponed, there are no specific restrictions for entry of anyone based solely on their nationality. Italian authorities continue to monitor arrivals from China at all international airports, and any passengers exhibiting symptoms (e.g., fever, respiratory congestion, coughing, sneezing) are subject to additional medical examination.
Italy has expanded temperature screening to all air travelers upon arrival on all international (including European) and domestic flights arriving in Italy’s major airports as well as upon departure for most non-Schengen countries.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Alerts:
23 February 2020 – CDC issues Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions for Italy, Sustained Community Transmission—Special Precautions for High-Risk Travelers - LINK
Symptoms to Watch Out For:
Officials say the respiratory disease, is capable of spreading through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing, and germs left on inanimate objects. Chinese officials warn that the virus might spread during the incubation period – when a person has the virus but isn’t yet showing symptoms. Incubation period is currently believed to be anywhere from 1 to 14 days. Authorities have advised citizens to be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Cough and/or sore throat
Muscle Aches in some cases also being reported
Pneumonia (secondary infection)
Mitigating Measures to Apply:
Monitor local authorities for updates
Avoid travel to or through China (including layovers) and specifically through Wuhan and Hubei province
Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)
Wash hands frequently with soap and water; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available
Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at higher risk and should speak to their healthcare provider before travel
Avoid exposure to those presenting the above symptoms
Allow extra time for temperature screening at airports worldwide
Remain situationally aware and adjust travel plans as you see fit
Enroll in a Safe Traveler Program to receive warnings from your preferred embassy
Seek medical care immediately if you experience symptoms and have recently traveled to any infected areas; notify your healthcare provider of your recent travel
DISCLAIMER and Hold Harmless
Disclaimer: LSDS™ gathers information from multiple sources and offers insight and perspective to travelers. Sources cannot be validated for accuracy in every instance. Travelers assume all risk associated with their travel and are responsible for the decisions associated with travel and for their own safety. Users of this reference document agree, to hold harmless LSDS™ (LLC) its employees and clients associated with any risk or injury incurred during travel.