China virus Italy aviation Mauritius,lead 24 February 2020 - 14:10

Alitalia flight 'held' in Mauritius over virus fears Rome, Feb 24, 2020 (AFP) - An Alitalia flight from Rome was being "held" in Mauritius on Monday, the Italian government said, amid health concerns as coronavirus cases in Italy continue to rise. The Italian foreign ministry said it was in contact with Alitalia and with the Italian embassy in South Africa in order to provide assistance to Italians on board. About 70 people from the affected areas in Italy were being prevented from disembarking, media reports said. Alitalia said the flight had departed from Rome on Sunday. Mauritian authorities had told passengers from the worst-affected regions of Lombardy and Veneto that they either had to go into quarantine in Mauritius or return to Italy without getting off the plane, the Corriere della Sera newspaper said. Other passengers were allowed to disembark after a medical screening. Italy reported its fourth death from the virus on Monday, with the country having the most confirmed cases in Europe. jsk/ide/txw

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