Ryanair and EasyJet cancel Italy flights

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Budget airlines Ryanair and EasyJet are to cancel all Italian flights until early April after the government ordered the entire country locked down because of the coronavirus, they announced Tuesday.

From Wednesday, Irish carrier Ryanair will cancel all Italian domestic flights before suspending international services from Friday until April 8, a statement said.

"Ryanair today announced the suspension of its full schedule to/from and within Italy, following the decision of the Italian government to 'lock down' the entire country to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus," the statement said.

British rival EasyJet added that it was in the process of cancelling "all of its existing scheduled flights touching Italy between 10 March and 3 April" following the restrictions by the Italian authorities.

"We will be operating rescue flights for passengers wishing to travel for essential, work, health or repatriation reasons to and from Italy," it added.

The announcements came shortly after Norwegian Air Shuttle said it would cancel "approximately 3,000" flights from mid-March to mid-June, about 15 percent of its total capacity as the coronavirus outbreak hits travel worldwide.

British Airways has also cancelled flights to Italy.

The widespread cancellations come after Italy imposed unprecedented nationwide restrictions on 60 million people to control the deadly coronavirus.

China, which took similar measures on a regional level, has signalled major progress in its battle against the epidemic.

© 2020 AFP

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