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US urges citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Italy over COVID-19

US urges citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Italy over COVID-19

A woman wearing a mask poses for a photo in front of the Duomo gothic cathedral in Milan, Italy on Feb 28, 2020. (Photo: AP/Luca Bruno)

WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday (Feb 28) warned against non-essential travel to Italy, a top destination for US tourists, over the growing coronavirus epidemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "recommends that travellers avoid all non-essential travel to Italy. There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas", it said in a statement.

The State Department raised its travel advice a notch for Italy to "reconsider travel", pointing to a "sustained community spread" of the virus there.

Explore: Real-time interactive map of all the confirmed cases reported around the world

Italy has reported 650 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths - the most in Europe from the epidemic that originated in China, which is by far the most affected country.

Italy has urged tourists not to stay away, even as nearly a dozen cities in the north are under lockdown.

More than 5.6 million Americans visited Italy in 2018, the second highest of all nationalities after Germans, according to Italian statistics.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of novel coronavirus and its developments

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Source: AFP/ec

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