As a result of the increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy, the United States government raised its travel warning for the country to the highest level.
According to The Associated Press, cases of the viral infections jumped by 50 percent in Italy on Sunday, forcing U.S. officials to urge Americans not to travel to the regions of Lombardy and Veneto. The warning level is one step shy of the warning issued for China.
The advisory issued by the government resulted in airlines across the U.S. altering their schedules. American Airlines announced it would suspend flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Miami International Airport to Milan Malpensa Airport.
Delta Air Lines also revealed it would temporarily suspend its daily flight between JFK and Milan, with the service expected to resume on May 1. The carrier’s daily journeys between Rome and both JFK and Atlanta continue to operate as scheduled.
Tourism officials in Italy said the travel advisories being issued for the country could be devastating to the local economies. The nation is a dream destination for many travelers, with tourism representing 13 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product.
In total, over 5.6 million Americans visit Italy each year. Health officials in the country said the total number of people now infected has risen to 1,694, with 34 confirmed deaths.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread around the world, U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence announced travel to Iran has been further restricted and advised American citizens to avoid certain areas in Italy and South Korea.
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