A ban on public gatherings has been implemented, while schools, gyms, pubs, and theaters are closed and weddings and funerals will not be able to take place until after April 3.
Some three million British nationals visit Italy every year. Anyone returning from Italy to the UK will be asked to self-isolate for days .
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said public transport will remain open during the lockdown. ‘There won’t be just a red zone,’ he told reporters, referring to a lockdown of areas in northern Italy instituted over the weekend. ‘There will be Italy as a protected area.’ He said.
A statement from the foreign office said: ‘We have amended our travel advice to recommend against all but essential travel to Italy. The safety of British nationals is always our number one priority.
‘The advice is that anyone who arrives from Italy subsequent to Italian government decision should now self-isolate for days. ‘
Measures imposed by Italy have raised concerns that the UK could soon follow suit, after officials announced that Britons with a ‘minor’ cold, flu or fever symptoms might soon be asked to self-isolate at home.
Professor Francois Balloux, of the University College London Genetics Institute, said: ‘The trajectory in the UK is so far roughly comparable to the one in northern Italy, but with the epidemic [there] two to three weeks ahead of the situation [here].
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