State Department Advises to "Reconsider Travel" Italy Due to Coronavirus

Empty tram in Milan, Italy due to Coronavirus
Empty tram in Milan, Italy due to Coronavirus // Photo by Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP via Newscred

The State Department has increased its travel advisory level for Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak. The country as a whole is now listed at Level 3 – Reconsider Travel. The Veneto and Lombardy regions, which have been hardest-hit by the illness, are listed at Level 4 – Do Not Travel, which is the most severe rating on the State Department’s four-point travel advisory scale. 

“There is a widespread ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person,” the State Department announcement read. “Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but widespread sustained community spread has been reported in Italy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Italy. 

Following the State Department announcement, American Airlines announced plans to suspend operations to and from Milan, Italy, citing a “reduction in demand.” American had served Milan, which is part of the Lombardy region, from New York – JFK and Miami in the United States, with one flight from each of those airports daily. 

Customers on cancelled flights who do not wish to rebook can request a full refund by visiting aa.com/refunds. American will also waive change fees and fare differences on flights to Italy originally booked through March 15, with rescheduled travel to take place through April 3 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference). Customers can also delay their trip beyond April 3 to a maximum of 331 days after their original ticket date, or change their origin or destination city, but a difference in fare may apply. 

Lufthansa is likewise reducing frequencies on varies routes to Italy in March, including to Milan, Venice, Rome, Turin, Verona, Bologna, Ancona and Pisa. SWISS will probably reduce flight frequencies to and from Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice until the end of April, the airline group said. Austrian Airlines is reducing its flight program to Italy in March and April by 40 percent, including reductions of flight frequencies on routes from Vienna to Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples.

Eurowings is reducing its flights to and from Venice, Bologna and Milan until 8 March. Eurowings flights to other destinations in Italy are currently not affected. 

For its Italian route network, Brussels Airlines has decided to reduce its flights to Rome, Milan, Venice and Bologna by 30 percent until 14 March.

United Airlines is waiving change fees and fare differences for customers scheduled to travel to Italy through April 30 the chance to rebook through June 30 in the originally ticketed cabin and between the original city pair. For wholly rescheduled travel departing after June 30, or for a change in departure or destination city, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.

Delta has issued a change waiver for customers scheduled to fly to Italy through April 30 when rebooking through May 31, with the new ticket to be reissued on or before that date. 

There are over 1,120 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy, according to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO), out of over 87,100 cases worldwide. 

This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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