Coronavirus advisory for Italy: State Dept. raises travel warning

The State Department is urging Americans to reconsider travel to Italy amid a coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 21 lives in that country.

The agency updated its travel warning to its second-highest level amid news that nearly 900 people in Italy have been sickened.

"Reconsider travel to Italy due to a recent outbreak of COVID-19," the advisory says. "There is an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 caused by a novel (new) coronavirus in Italy. Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but sustained community spread has been reported in Italy."

Some airlines have halted flights to Italy as demands for travel to the area slow as the number of infections there continues to climb. Most of the infections are clustered in the north.

Italian authorities have canceled carnival events in Venice, and bishops in several dioceses in northern Italy issued directives Sunday that holy water fonts be kept empty.

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Since the first cases were reported in December, at least 2,800 people have died and close to 85,000 have been infected. Most of the cases are in China.

The State Department issued a travel advisory last month warning travelers to not visit the country.

Fox News' Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.