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Covid-19: 'Do not travel' to Lombardy and other isolated Italian regions, DFA warns

The new advice was issued today by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

People wear masks in Milan, one of the areas placed in isolation.
People wear masks in Milan, one of the areas placed in isolation.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs has advised Irish citizens not to travel to the Italian region of Lombardy and to the other areas that have been placed in isolation. 

Last night, the Italian government announced that a quarter of the country’s population is to be put under lockdown. Italy has seen the most deaths from the Covid-19 disease of any country outside China. 

Department of Foreign Affairs advice has now been updated, with the government advising that citizens do not travel to Lombardy, where the main city is Milan, and to the other regions placed in lockdown.

Alongside Lombardy, the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padova, Treviso and Venice have all been placed in self-isolation.

Until 3 April, people will be barred from entering or leaving these vast areas of northern Italy without a serious and urgent reason to do so, according to a decree signed off by the prime minister overnight and published online.

These quarantine zones are home to more than 15 million people and include the regions around Venice and financial capital Milan, while cinemas, theatres and museums will be closed nationwide.

“If you are in Italy, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities,” the Department of Foreign Affairs advises. 

The government is still advising against non-essential travel to regions of Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Piedmont, and Le Marche.

Countries across Europe are considering how to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, with the most drastic measures so far taken by the Italian government to cope with the spread of the virus. 

Retired doctors are being recruited by the Italian government to bolster the country’s healthcare system with 20,000 more staff while civil protection officials say Lombardy region is having trouble finding beds in hospitals.

Last night, one new case of coronavirus was confirmed in Ireland – bringing the total number of cases in the Republic of Ireland to 19.  

Three new cases were also confirmed in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to seven confirmed cases. The all-island total is now 26 cases. 

Globally, over 100,000 people have been infected from coronavirus. As of today, 3,584 people have died from coronavirus. 

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According to the most extensive study done so far, the novel coronavirus was benign in 80.9% of cases, “serious” in 13.8% and “critical” in 4.7%. The remaining 0.6% was not specified.

Part of the reason Covid-19 has been declared a public health emergency is due to the speed at which it has spread compared to other coronaviruses (like Sars and Mers) and the fact that there’s a lot about the disease we still don’t know – including how exactly it’s being transmitted.

With reporting from Press Association

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