British Airways and EasyJet to cancel flights to Italy as coronavirus cases soar

UK-based airlines British Airways and EasyJet have announced they are reducing their flights to northern Italy as the deadly coronavirus grips the country.

The two major airlines are cancelling flights to the north of Italy after the UK Foreign Office warned against travel to the Lombardy region – including Milan.

The area Brits have, as of this morning, been urged not to fly to by the government include 14 provinces such as Modena, Parma, Rimini and Venice.

The official advice states: “Otherwise entry into and exit from these areas is forbidden without official permission on the grounds of strict necessity.

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“The authorities have confirmed to us that this will be granted for reasons such as medical need or work requirements.”

The Italian authorities also at the weekend ordered a virtual lockdown of the area, with museums closed, streets and shops empty, and weddings and funerals banned.

Italy has so far seen 366 deaths from the coronavirus with more than 7,300 cases recorded in the disease-gripped country.

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As a result of the latest developments, EasyJet has said it expects to reduce the number of flights to and from airports int he area, including Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona.

The low-cost airline said it expects to reduce these flights until April 3, as a part of a review of its programme.

"We will provide a further update on our schedule in due course," EasyJet said in an emailed statement on Monday.

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British Airways, meanwhile, has already cancelled dozens of flights to northern Italy today, and is set to continue to reduce flights.

"We are also offering customers booked to fly before April 2, the option to change their booking up to another date up to the end of May, or to fly via Zurich or Geneva instead," BA said in a statement.

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