ROME — The U.S. State Department has sent a notice to expats living in Italy that they should come home “immediately” or prepare to stay away for a long time.
The Italian government “has confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the country,” the message reads. “U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return home or be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
“Direct flights to the United States are available through Alitalia, which currently has one direct flight per day,” the State Department notes, while also offering a link to book plane tickets.
The message also warns that travelers should “be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.”
“Please review your airline’s current policies and procedures prior to arrival at the airport. Among other measures, airlines may require social distancing and the use of personal protective masks,” it notes.
Among other “actions to take,” the State Department advises that American expats have “a plan to depart from Italy that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.”
According to the latest figures released by the Italian health ministry, there have been 8,165 deaths associated with the coronavirus, the highest number for any country in the world.
Currently, 80,539 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy since the outbreak in February and 62,013 of these are currently infected. So far, 10,361 people who had tested positive have recovered from the disease.