Italy's foreign ministry advises against overseas travel, warns of curbs

·1-min read
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Foreign Ministry advised Italians on Monday against trips to other European countries because of surging coronavirus cases, and warned that people might get trapped overseas if travel bans became necessary.

"In view of the worsening epidemiological situation in Europe, the foreign ministry recommends that all compatriots avoid travelling abroad except for strictly necessary reasons," said a statement said on the ministry's website.

"It should also be noted that given the high number of infections in many European countries, further restrictions on travel in the future cannot be excluded, which would risk complicating any return to Italy."

The ministry further warned of the dangers of travelling beyond Europe. "Similar repatriation problems could occur, with much more serious consequences, in case of travel to non-EU destinations," it said.

The Italian government helped repatriate almost 100,000 citizens earlier in the year after they were stranded abroad as borders were closed around the world amid coronavirus fears.

Many travel restrictions were eased after the initial viral wave subsided, but cases have risen sharply again this month in many countries including Italy.

In a new record, almost half a million new coronavirus infections were recorded globally in a 24-hour period during the weekend, according to Reuters data.

There have been mounting protests in Italy against intensified restrictions meant to curb coronavirus contagion, and officials said the government would present a package of measures on Tuesday to shore up damaged businesses.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Heinrich)