New travel guidance as people returning from Italy asked to self-isolate
PUBLISHED: 18:56 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:40 06 March 2020
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People who have returned from northern Italy in the last fortnight are being asked to self-isolate even if they have not developed symptoms.
The Department for Health and Social Care has updated its information for returning travellers this evening as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Anyone who has been to the specified "lockdown region" of Lombardy, including Codogno, Castiglione d'Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano or the Vento region of Vo' Euganeo in the last 14 days are asked to self-isolate - even if they do not have symptoms - and call 111.
The advice also stated if a person had returned from other parts of Italy in the last 14 days and developed symptoms, however mild, they should self-isolate and call 111.
Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said: "The situation in Italy means that we have decided it is prudent at this point to move from a geographical area of north Italy... to a geographical situation for all of Italy.
"The pattern of what people do is exactly the same as before.
"It's about people from those areas, except for the cities which the Italian government specifies in lockdown, all other areas, only people who have got symptoms need to self isolate."
Prime minister Boris Johnson said other than a change in advice regarding Italy people should not alter their plans.
"Obviously there's been a change of advice on Italy, I believe, but basically (we're) saying wash your hands and business as usual," he said.
This week, the Italian government closed schools nationwide to try to contain Covid-19 and has since opened a campaign to protect its elderly population.
Italy, the epicentre of the outbreak in Europe, has the world's oldest population after Japan.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 virus.