British Airways (BA) has cancelled all flights to and from Italy from Tuesday, whilst Ryanair will stop all flights from Saturday 9 April.
It comes as Italy has placed the whole country on lockdown affecting 60m citizens and will remain in quarantine until 3 April.
The Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered 60m people to stay at home and must get permission for essential travel.
In a TV address to the Italian nation Conte said the emergency measures are to protect the vulnerable and elderly, he said, “there is no more time.”
Conte said the best thing was for people to stay at home. “We’re having an important growth in infection… and of deaths,” he said in an evening address on Monday.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real.”
University College London biology professor, Dr Francis Balloux said, “The trajectory of the epidemic in the UK is so far roughly comparable to the one in Northern Italy, but with the epidemic in Northern Italy two to three weeks ahead of the situation in the UK.”
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office said in a statement, “We have amended our travel advice to recommend against all but essential travel to Italy.
“The safety of British nationals is always our number one priority.
“The advice is that anyone who arrives from Italy subsequent to Italian government decision should now self-isolate for 14 days.”