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Shoppers at a supermarket in the Lodi area in northern Italy. Claudio Furlan/LaPresse

Irish citizens advised to avoid travelling to areas in Italy affected by coronavirus

A fifth person has died from Covid-19 today in Italy.

IRISH CITIZENS ARE being advised to avoid travelling to areas in Italy that are affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on its website has advised Irish citizens to “not travel to affected areas” in Italy due to a recent increase in coronavirus cases. 

The department has not provided a definitive list of the areas affected by Covid-19, saying to consult transport and accommodation providers, the regional government website of the region in question.

Those who are already in Italy are advised by the DFA to call 1500 for more details. 

The security status of the country remains at the lowest level with normal precautions in place.

Tourists visiting Italy are also reminded that bathing in fountains is prohibited at all times. 

A fifth person has died from the coronavirus in Italy, it was reported this afternoon. The fourth person to die from the virus in Italy, a man in his 80s, was reported dead in the northern Lombardy region earlier today. 

CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) Pat Dawson said people planning to travel to affected regions in Italy should contact their travel agents or airlines to discuss their options. 

“It’s really going to be up to providers and airlines for how they deal with these precautions,” Dawson said. 

“People should talk to the travel agent they booked the trip with or their airlines to ask if dates can be changed or what the next steps should be if people are nervous abot travelling to certain areas,” he said. 

“We would urge people to be cautious,” said Dawson, adding that it was “certainly not a pleasant situation”. 

Empty shelves

Villages in Lombardy have been put under lockdown and security measures brought in to stem the spread of the disease. 

Supermarket shelves near Milan and other areas across Italy have been cleared as fears spread due to the surge in coronavirus cases. 

italy-china-outbreak-europe Empty shelves in Milan yesterday. Luca Bruno Luca Bruno

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said that residents could face weeks in effective quarantine in an effort to sit out the virus.

Lombardy’s president Attilo Fontana said 165 people had now tested positive in the region, the worst-hit zone in Italy.

Italy has the most confirmed cases of any country in Europe. 

The DFA said the Italian government has put laws in place for certain areas to take actions including the restriction of movement, restriction of certain transport services and closures of schools and museums. 

International travellers are advised to reduce certain risks by avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, frequently washing hands and avoiding close contact with live or dead farm/wild animals. 

11 towns – 10 in Lombardy and one in neighbouring Veneto – are under lockdown, with some 50,000 residents prohibited from leaving.

Regional authorities have ordered gathering spots, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas and discos to close.

The spread of the virus has disrupted high-profile events including Milan Fashion Week, the Venice Carnival and football matches. 

Masses in churches across the affected regions have been cancelled and funerals limited to immediate relatives only.

Passengers who arrived by bus from Milan to Lyon in France earlier today were kept on board after the driver was hospitalised with symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus. 

Police set up a security cordon around the bus in the Lyon station and ordered the passengers to remain on board, a spokesperson for the Lyon area’s public security department said. 

With reporting by AFP. 

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