Italy suspends flights from Brazil in response to new coronavirus variant

FILE PHOTO: Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza speaks to reporters after European health ministers from neighbouring countries to Italy held a meeting to discuss Italy's coronavirus outbreak, in Rome, Italy, February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy is suspending flights from Brazil, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Saturday, in response to a new coronavirus variant.

Anyone who has transited Brazil in the last 14 days is also prohibited from entering Italy, he said on Facebook, while people arriving in Italy from Brazil will be required to take a test for the virus.

“It is critical for our scientists to study the new strain. In the meantime, we are taking a very cautious approach”, he said.

Such rules will remain in place until Jan. 31, the order issued on Saturday by the health minister showed.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Louise Heavens