British nationals are being warned against all but essential travel to coronavirus-stricken Italy in updated advice issued by the Government.
On Monday evening, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the safety of Britons was the “number one priority” as it amended its travel advice.
It came as Italian premier Giuseppe Conte extended restrictions from the north to the entire country in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19, after the country’s death toll climbed to 366.
#Italy The FCO now advises against all but essential travel to Italy, due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) and in line with various controls and restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities on 9 March https://t.co/0pXPch7ON8pic.twitter.com/I0B89vpcS2
— FCO travel advice (@FCOtravel) March 9, 2020
An FCO spokesman said: “We have amended our travel advice to recommend against all but essential travel to Italy.
“The safety of British nationals is always our number one priority.
“The advice is that anyone who arrives from Italy subsequent to the Italian government decision should now self-isolate for 14 days.”
It came as England’s chief medical officer said anyone showing cold, flu or fever symptoms in the near future is likely to be asked to stay at home.
Professor Chris Whitty said the number of cases in the UK is going up and pointed to tighter measures aimed at protecting the public, particularly the vulnerable and elderly.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters the UK will almost certainly move to the delay phase of tackling coronavirus.
As of 9am on Monday, 319 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, up from 273 at the same point on Sunday, while five people have died in British hospitals.
The latest patient, at St Helier Hospital in Carshalton, south London, was in their 70s and had a number of significant and long-term health conditions.