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Coronavirus situation

Sydney
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Coronavirus situation
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Hi I saw the news unfolded today on the current situation with the Coronavirus in Italy. We have already booked our flights and accommodation for our 3 week itinerary 9-27 Apr to Rome, Sorrento/ Positano, Venice, Bologna, Parma, Cinque T, Florence, and Tuscany. We are travelling on our own (not following tours) and have booked a few bike tours in the major cities like Rome and Florence.

Advice needed to help us decide to cancel trip or just go with it. Thanks

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GAC
Los Angeles, CA
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10,733 posts
23 reviews
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1. Re: Coronavirus situation
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Still too soon to say. At the moment, there are 76 reported infected persons in Italy, nearly all in Lombardy and Veneto. Two elderly patients have died. The government has taken draconian steps to keep the virus isolated, but the effort may not entirely succeed.. So far, there are no reported cases in the tourist cities. This may change in the near future.

In any event, the key is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes, stay far away from people coughing or sneezing, and avoid crowded spaces, especially enclosed spaces.

If you were to cancel this trip, next year there will probably be a new strain of virus. Keep in mind that the virus becomes "serious" (pneumonia) in only 20% of reported cases.

Eagle River, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Siena
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2,277 posts
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3 helpful votes
2. Re: Coronavirus situation
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No one can tell you what to do and September is a bit off in the future. Anything that people think is true now will be totally different in September.

I have tickets for April and I am going. I can not control the situation, the Italian Government will do what they do in what they think is best for Italy.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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109,270 posts
16 reviews
17 helpful votes
3. Re: Coronavirus situation
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If you cancel now, you will probably not get any refunds, as there is no government warning against travel to Italy.

QQ2
New York City, New...
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Just in the last two days there has been rapid escalation of cases (and two deaths) in northern Italy -- mostly Lombardy (Milan) and Veneto (which includes Venice, but think only cases in that region have been in or around Padua). Last I read, 80 confirmed cases plus the two deaths. Suspect will go higher before is over. Sounds like Italian government is taking it very seriously, locking down towns, quarantining people, schools closed, Milan closing public offices & some fashion week events canceled. Many Carnaval events canceled all over Italy. I have no idea what to say. If your arrangements are cancellable with little or no penalty, maybe cancel to be on safe side and go later in year.

QQ2
New York City, New...
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You know, one of the issues with stuff like this is not just the possibility of getting sick, but the possibility of getting stuck-- whether sudden quarantine or sudden unavailability of flights, and feeling you have to be constantly monitoring the situation for things like that.

In an interview yesterday (Friday I think) Italian PM was asked if Italy would suspend Schengen Accord (free movement of people within Europe). He said they had no immediate plans for that, but were open to any idea that would keep Italians safe. I think they are already putting people with those heat sensors at train stations and airports. Who knows what will be next.

A couple weeks ago I canceled a trip to Europe that would have been this week, for reasons totally unrelated to coronavirus. But after I canceled I felt relieved that I wasn't going to have to worry about catching a cold (none this year so far, knock on wood), not to mention coronavirus, whether to wear masks on plane, etc, etc. At a certain point it just becomes such a hassle that travel stops being fun.

Chandler, Arizona
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6. Re: Coronavirus situation
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We are scheduled to go mid March. My husband and I are traveling with our two grandkids, ages 11 and 14. We are monitoring the situation. I don’t want any of us to get the virus, and I also don’t want to be under quarantine and unable to go home. Our flights from the US are in and out of London, with a BA flight into Venice and out of Rome. At this time, we are considering skipping Italy and staying in the UK.

GAC
Los Angeles, CA
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10,733 posts
23 reviews
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We will have a much better "read" on the situation within the next week. If contagion spreads to the tourist cities in significant numbers, or even to other non-tourist larger towns, there will be a re-assessment. So far, the situation has not affected any of the tourist destinations, but this is just the second day after the big news story broke.

If you read Italian, you can follow developments in real time on the major internet news sites such as www.repubblica.it and www.corriere.it

Edited: 23 February 2020, 09:31
QQ2
New York City, New...
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/23/coronavirus-northern-italian-towns-close-schools-and-businesses

Australia
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9. Re: Coronavirus situation
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My greatest concern with the original post is sheer fatigue rushing about like that. You also will be spending a lot of in crowded places. Not enough time relaxing.

We have bookings for September-November in Italy. We may or may not need to cancel, but this is too soon to know. The best science does not know the course of COVID-19, whether it becomes like the flu. The situation is not helped by the mediademic. A doctor friend reminded yesterday that globally 5000 people are killed by influenza every week, !0,000 in the US so far this northern winter. The flu season is winding down in Italy, but there will probably be new fluvax available in Australia in March. No, it won't work against whatever else but if you don't get knocked by the flu you won't have a weakened immune system.

My Australian travel insurance, where we took out cover before 22 January, COVIS-19 day, says refund if SmartTraveller says don't go, no refund if just fear.

So be very watchful. If necessary to cancel with loss, do that closer to time.

As regards health in Italy, be conscious that Italy is a member of the G7 (whereas Australia a lesser economy member of the G20), a country with highly developed health, medical and drug industries, oldest medical schools on the planet... and it evident in their radical moves against these new cases

that they are well prepared.

Edited: 23 February 2020, 10:07
Australia
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6,322 posts
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This article on 'fighting panic with information' has just been published in The Lancet, highly respectable UK medical journal

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30379-2/fulltext

The World Health Organisation [UN-WHO] page on this is here

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

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