Outrage as airlines including BA STILL operating flights from Italy

Outrage as airlines including BA and Ryanair are STILL operating dozens of flights from North Italy to the UK amid coronavirus lockdown – and the government is NOT checking arrivals for signs of the illness

  • BA, Ryanair and EasyJet have flights operating from the quarantined regions
  • British tourists in northern Italy ‘free to return home or complete their holiday’
  • Nationals will not be met by anyone at airport and will not be put into quarantine
  • Coronavirus has killed 3,500 globally and infected over 100,000 diagnoses

Airlines including British Airways, Ryanair and EasyJet are still flying passengers to and from coronavirus-ridden regions of northern Italy after swathes of the country was put on lockdown.

Britons returning home from the worst-hit regions are not being checked for the virus – which has killed 3,500 worldwide and has infected more than 100,000 – upon landing in the UK.

The death toll in Italy increased by 133 to 366 yesterday while the number of cases skyrocketed from 1,492 to 7,375.

Return flights to Milan – one of the cities under lockdown – are still being offered by Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways and are all available to book online. 

The Foreign Office confirmed that nationals returning from northern Italy – the worse-affected region – will not be met by anyone at the airport in Britain, nor will they be put into quarantine or told to take a test for the bug. 

Passengers wearing protective face masks are seen in Malpensa airport near Milan, Italy

Passengers in Malpensa airport near Milan, wait for their flight after British Airways said it is still flying passengers to and from coronavirus-ridden regions of northern Italy

Two people wearing protective face masks leave Malpensa airport. Britons returning home from the worst-hit regions are not being checked upon landing

The death toll from coronavirus in Italy increased by 133 to 366 yesterday while the number of cases skyrocketed from 1,492 to 7,375. Pictured: People wearing protective masks queue in Malpensa airport

British Airways are ‘reviewing their schedule’ and have offered customers travelling from the quarantined zone full refunds.

Customers who booked with BA – which has already scrapped hundreds of long-haul flights due to the killer bug – before April 2 have the option to change their booking up to another date up to the end of May, or to fly via Zurich or Geneva instead.

Meanwhile EasyJet will cancel some flights to and from the region up until April 3 – when the lockdown affecting 16 million people and covering much of the north – including Milan will end.

While regions of Italy are under an extreme quarantine in which people face a three-month prison sentence for leaving locked-down areas, Britons in the coronavirus-ridden zone are free to travel home without facing penalties. Pictured: Travellers at Linate, Milan’s city airport

The Foreign Office confirmed that British tourists in the northern parts of the country ‘are free to return home or complete their holiday’ under guidelines from the Italian government. Pictured: Linate airport in Milan

A passenger wearing a protective face mask, amid concerns about coronavirus, walks in Linate Airport in Milan

The foreign office advises 14 days of self isolation once back in Britain. Pictured: Those in the orange regions are advised against all but essential travel by Britain’s Foreign Office

Passengers depart from a train in Naples arriving from Milan as people scrambled to flee from quarantined regions of northern Italy after the government imposed a lockdown

Mass panic swept in after the Italian government imposed a quarantine affecting 16 million people in the country’s northern region in a bid to combat the spread of deadly coronavirus. Pictured: People queue at bus stations trying to leave Lampugnano

Other national airlines, including Alitalia, are also still operating flights from north Italy to the UK.

The Foreign Office advises 14 days of self isolation once back in Britain – but there is nothing stopping people from using public transport or entering crowded places on their way home. 

The FCO advises against ‘all but essential travel’ to the quarantined areas which include 

People evacuated from Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak –  were quarantined for 14 days in an isolation compound.

They were transported back in a secure plane with a separate cabin for anyone displaying symptoms and those who display symptoms on landing were transferred to an NHS hospital. 

A BA spokesperson said: ‘Following the change to the UK Government travel advice for Northern Italy, we are reviewing our schedule, and have contacted all customers who are due to travel today.

‘We are also offering customers booked to fly before April 2, the option to change their booking up to another date up to the end of May, or to fly via Zurich or Geneva instead.’

An EasyJet spokesperson said: ‘We will provide a further update on our schedule in due course.’

The Italian government yesterday announced a lockdown in a desperate bid to combat the spread of deadly coronavirus.

Anyone who flouts the quarantine rules – in which no-one can leave the ‘orange zone’ without a serious reason – could face three months in prison or a fine of up to 206 euros (around £178). 

Panicked shoppers queue to buy food in Via Rubattino, Milan, after it was announced that multiple regions of northern Italy would be quarantined


People on buses wear protective face masks as they wait to flee Lampugnano, Milan, after the area was put on lockdown

Police officers and carabinieri talking with relatives as inmates protest in the Poggioreale prison in Naples during a protest 

The protest at Poggioreale prison flared up because of the announced suspension of talks on the fight against coronavirus infection

A man having his temperature screened outside the Allianz Stadium  in Turin ahead of a football match as the number of coronavirus cases grows around the world

The killer disease has gripped Italy where the number of cases rose by 1,247 in the last 24 hours – the country’s biggest daily increase in cases since the outbreak began – taking the total to 5,883.

 Another 36 people died as a result of the virus in Italy, bring the death toll to 233 in the largest outbreak in Europe.

The foreign office claim they are ‘working really closely with the Italian authorities to understand the implications of what these restrictions are’ for Britons in Italy. 

A spokesman added: ‘We advise all British nationals to follow our travel advice for Italy, which is under constant review. 

‘The safety of British nationals is always our number one priority.’

People scrambled to flee quarantined regions after the announcement with airports and bus stations still running.

A woman with a trolley full of shopping can be seen in Via Rubattino, Milan. People frantically rush to stockpile goods after the country’s northern regions were put on lock down

Staff check the temperature of a man before he goes into the AC Milan and Genoa CFC game at San Siro, Milan, yesterday

While information about the penalty for breaking the rules was released, confusion still reigned from Milan to Venice as residents and tourists tried to figure out exactly when and how the new rules were coming into effect. 

Travellers rushed to train stations and crammed aboard standing-room-only trains, tucking their faces into scarves and sharing sanitizing gel.

News of the impending quarantine was leaked to media early prompting further chaos as people rushed to get out of the affected areas.

Under the quarantine, bars and restaurants will remain open but must ensure that everyone is seated at least a three feet apart or face being shut down.

Weddings and funerals are also forbidden under the new rules.

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