Europe is battling to contain the spread of coronavirus after several countries confirmed their first cases of the infection.
The Foreign Office on Tuesday (25 February) updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to several parts of Italy.
More than 300 cases have been confirmed in what is now Europe’s worst-affected country.
Cases have been confirmed in Austria – where a hotel in Innsbruck has been locked down – as well as Croatia and Switzerland. Authorities say these new cases all involve people who have been to Italy.
Another hotel, the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in Tenerife, was placed on lockdown on Tuesday after an Italian guest tested positive for the infection.
Eleven people have now died from the infection in Italy, and several towns have been placed under quarantine, affecting around 50,000 people.
The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto, which the FCO said had been “isolated” due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
“The government of Italy has introduced extraordinary measures that allow regions to implement civil protection measures in response to coronavirus, including the isolation of these towns,” the FCO has warned.
Those returning from Italy to the UK, particularly from affected northern areas of the country, have been told to self-isolate if they develop any symptoms.
A number of British schools have shut to allow for deep cleans after pupils came back from skiing trips to affected areas. Health secretary Matt Hancock, though, has stressed there are no plans to halt flights to Italy at this stage.
Abta has urged travellers to follow local public health advice when travelling to or near affected areas, especially towns in northern Italy, and to monitor advice from the FCO.
The association added: “While these towns are not considered to be popular tourist areas among UK holidaymakers, if the towns are part of a holiday itinerary, customers imminently due to travel should speak to their travel provider.
“Passengers who have booked flights directly with an airline and are imminently due to travel should contact the airline to discuss their options.”
MSC Cruises, meanwhile, is denying boarding to any guests who live, or have travelled to, from or through, any of the 11 towns in northern Italy on lockdown.