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Coronavirus outbreak: Brits’ holidays under threat as British Airways cancels flights

The Government is advising against all but 'essential' travel

Thousands of British people hoping to escape the ongoing poor weather face the prospect of having their holidays cancelled as British Airways has shut down flights to part of coronavirus-hit Italy.

The airline is reportedly cancelling some flights to Milan while merging others together because of “reduced demand due to the continuing coronavirus issue”, a spokesperson quoted by The Sun revealed.

British Airways flight
BA’s cut back flights to match demand (Credit: Pixabay)

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A statement on the company’s website informed customers: “We continue to operate to and from Italy, and can reassure our customers that we are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

“However, we recognise the increased uncertainty in some areas in northern Italy may be causing our customers [concern] and have therefore introduced flexible rebooking options for customers booked to travel to/from some northern Italian airports.”

The UK government, meanwhile, is advising Brits not to visit destinations on a list of towns in northern Italy, except in cases of “essential travel”.

Map of Italy
Many of the Italian towns affected by coronavirus are in the country’s Lombardy region (Credit: Google Maps)

On its website, a statement reads: “The [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] advise against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo’ Euganeo), which have been isolated by the Italian authorities due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

According to BBC News, over 400 people have so far been infected with coronavirus in Italy, 12 of whom have died.

The publication also reported that the flu-like virus is now spreading faster in countries outside China, the original epicentre of the outbreak.

It follows reports that a number of schools in the UK have either had to close or been forced to send pupils and staff home in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, which it is feared could kill as many as half a million people in the UK.

Coronavirus masks
The UK government is advising against all but “essential” travel to Italy (Credit: Credit: Cover Images/CTK)

Read more: Coronavirus outbreak sends dozens of schools into lockdown as pupils return from holidays

Since then, it has emerged that the school attended by Prince George and Princess Charlotte, eldest children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is at the centre of a coronavirus scare.

Several pupils at the royal children’s private school, Thomas’s in Battersea, have been sent home due to fears of the virus following trips to northern Italy.

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