Taiwan raises coronavirus travel advisory for Italy

Orange alert for all of Italy, red alert for parts of Lombardy and Veneto

A man wearing a mask in front of the Duomo cathedral in Milan 

A man wearing a mask in front of the Duomo cathedral in Milan  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday (Feb. 25) raised its travel advisory for Italy to “orange,” dissuading travelers from visiting the country unless absolutely necessary, with a “red” alert in effect for the worst-affected areas as the number of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the southern European country surged to more than 200.

The red alert, which advises citizens not to visit at all, is for parts of the Lombardy and Veneto regions of northern Italy where local travel restrictions already apply, CNA reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, the health authorities raised their travel advisory for Italy to a Level-2 alert similar to Japan and Singapore. The advisory means that citizens traveling to Italy should take extra precautions against infection during their stay, CNA reported.

Level-3 warnings are in force for China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea. People are advised not to travel to those countries and areas unless absolutely necessary.

Iran and Thailand are subject to a Level-1 "watch," which recommends that visitors follow local coronavirus prevention advice.

Two of the worst-hit regions in Italy, Lombardy, home to the country’s business capital Milan, and Veneto, which includes the historic city of Venice, are among the most popular destinations for Taiwanese tour groups and individual visitors.

The annual Venice Carnival has been canceled, and theaters and football stadiums are also closed due to virus fears.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has advised Taiwanese travelers to voluntarily inform health officials at the airport if they feel they have symptoms of the virus. Taiwan saw its number of coronavirus cases rise to 31 Tuesday, including one death reported earlier this month.