Avoid all non-essential travel in or to Italy, that's the simple message being passed on to Kiwis around the world.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated information on their website SafeTravel in regards to travel involving Italy this afternoon.

Due to the coronavirus Covid-19, and its associated health risks, Kiwis were told to avoid travel there.

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Earlier today, only those in the Lombardy region were told to avoid non-essential travel, with all others in Italy to exercise caution. That changed this afternoon.

On Tuesday, in a bid to try and combat the spread of the virus, the entire European country went into lockdown, affecting some 60 million people.

In less than three weeks, more than 460 people died in Italy from Covid-19, with active cases reaching nearly 8000.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand nearly 9000 people or households had self-isolated since the outbreak, the Ministry of Health confirmed.

There were also no new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, with one of the two probable cases being discharged from North Shore Hospital.

More than 50 North Shore staff were sent home to self-isolate after being exposed to the woman, in her 70s, who was in hospital for an unrelated condition.

She has now been sent home from hospital but remains a probable case, the Ministry of Health said in a statement this afternoon.

There are currently 206 Kiwis registered with SafeTravel as being located inside Italy, an Mfat spokesperson confirmed earlier today.


Meanwhile, all airports in the country were still operating and New Zealand tourists were still permitted to leave Italy.

Lombardy, a large region of Italy where Milan is located, was already in lockdown.

North of the city in Lecco, Cristina Castelluccio told the Herald a fear over a food shortage was growing and face masks were few and far between.

"Italian government and local authorities are working very hard to keep us updated and safe," Castelluccio said.

"They have issued some basic hygiene warnings on coronavirus and keep us constantly informed, which is a double-edged sword, if you ask me - we hope for the best but prepare for the worst."

"People are getting frantic" about the situation, Castelluccio said.