The third European destination after France and Spain, Italy is also the European country most affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic. The number of cases has risen rapidly in recent days to 374 on Wednesday, as the country announced its 12th death. Several restrictive measures have been put in place which risk disrupting the stay of people currently in the country. They concern several regions until March 1 at least: Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Piedmont and Trentino Alto Adige.
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In Milan (Lombardy), tourist attractions are closed, such as the Duomo, La Scala and the Prada Foundation. Venice (Veneto), which is just recovering from a historic sea rise, has seen its Carnival cut short. Several sites, including the Doge's Palace and the Museo del Vetro, no longer welcome visitors.
In all these regions, the Italian authorities have decided to close many public places (museums, cinemas, etc.). In Lombardy, pubs and discos are forced to lower the curtain to 6 p.m.
Postponement or reimbursement of stays
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued advice to travelers who plan to travel to Italy soon. "It is advisable for people who can and who have no essential reason to go to Lombardy and Veneto, to defer their displacement in these two regions, while waiting for the situation to recover ”, indicates the France Diplomatie site.
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Consequently, tour operators offer date or destination postponements for planned trips to these two regions. A measure that follows the recommendation of the union of tour operating companies (SETO). Some tour operators even reimburse stays in the affected regions. "It is enough that a museum initially planned in the itinerary is closed for the trip to be fully reimbursed," said Emmanuel Foiry, president of Kuoni France. Via its brand Donatello, specialist in Italy, the group indicates that around 200 people will travel to the country in February 2020. However, the epidemic has not created a panic. "A person contacted us because they wanted to take advantage of the epidemic to visit Venice without being bothered by tourists," reports Emmanuel Foiry.
Carriers also adapt
For its part, Comptoir des Voyages received only one cancellation request for a departure this week. "Travelers postpone their dates or choose another region of Italy," explains Alain Capestan, its president. "We continue to receive registrations for spring and summer, a sign that travelers are not worried and expect a rapid return to normal."
MSC Cruises has also made arrangements. The cruise line extended this Tuesday to cities in Italy under quarantine the measures it already applied to travelers recently passed through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao. "Anyone who lives, or who has traveled to, from or through one of these cities in the past 14 days, will be denied access to the ship: Casalpusterlengo, Codogno, Castiglione d'Adda, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, San Fiorano and Vò ”, can be read on its website of the shipping company.
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For its part, the "Italian SNCF" Trenitalia offers its customers to cancel their train ticket for free. The rail operator installed distributors of hand sanitizing gel inside its trains, and provided its staff with protective equipment (masks, disposable gloves, etc.).
With regard to air transport, all connections are maintained. At Air France, flights to or from Milan, Venice and Bologna scheduled by March 2 can be postponed without charge until March 31 inclusive.