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11 Mar 2020 | 02:10 AM UTC

France: Air France suspends all flights to Italy March 10 /update 4

Air France suspends all flights to Italy between March 14 - April 3 due to coronavirus (COVID-19); confirm travel itineraries

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FRA

Event

Air France announced on Tuesday, March 10, that it will suspend all flights to Italy between Saturday, March 14, until Friday, April 3, due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Italy. The airline will continue to operate one flight a day for all destinations in Italy up until March 14.

All Air France flights to Tel Aviv, Israel, will also be canceled until Saturday, March 28, as a result of the Israeli government’s latest measures which require all foreign travelers that visit the country from Thursday, March 12, to undergo a 14-day home quarantine. Meanwhile, the suspension of Air France flights to China, Hong Kong, and Taipei remain in place.

As of Tuesday, the French Ministry of Solidarity and Health has confirmed 1606 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, with 30 fatalities. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate business disruptions, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.