- The Australian government has upgraded its travel advice for Italy as the coronavirus continues its spread in the country.
- The government now advises travellers to "exercise a high degree of caution" if travelling to Italy, and to reconsider the need to travel to 10 towns in the north which have been particularly affected by the virus.
- It follows travel bans issued for both China and Iran.
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If you had a trip to Italy booked over the next little while and weren't already reconsidering, the Australian government has upgraded its travel advice for the country.
On Monday, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the government is now recommending Australians travelling to Italy should "exercise a high degree of caution" during their trip. Additionally, those planning to visit 10 virus-affected towns in the country's north have been encouraged to reconsider the need for travel.
Additionally, Hunt said, "if you are returning from Italy or South Korea, and you work as a healthcare worker, or as a residential aged care worker, you should not attend your regular work for 14 days".
"That is an additional level of protection which has been advised by the chief health and medical officers and accepted by the Australian government."
The towns affected by the government's enhanced travel advisory are as follows:
- Castiglione d’Adda
- Terranova dei Passerini
- San Fiorano
- Vo’ Euganeo
Italy has been one of the countries hardest-hit by the coronavirus outside of China. As of Monday, there were 1,694 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy, and 34 people had died.
Around 90% of all cases reported in Italy are concentrated in the wealthy northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna. The towns subject to the Australian government's higher-level travel advisory are located in these virus-ravaged regions.
On Saturday, the Australian government announced it would ban foreign travellers arriving from Iran, the country with the highest death toll aside from China. It joined an earlier travel ban – which has been extended several times – on non-Australian travellers from China.
The government has suggested it is reticent to keep piling on the travel bans, with Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy saying it is "not possible to further isolate Australia" even as the virus continues to escalate.
Home Affairs Minister Petter Dutton echoed that sentiment in an appearance on ABC's "Insiders", while defending the ban on travellers from Iran.
“As the Chief Medical Officer has pointed out, it's not possible to extend the ban to every country and we'll see what phase we move into next, but there's particular concern about the lack of reporting out of Iran, the very high death rate.”