UK-based airlines EasyJet and British Airways are expected to reduce their flights to northern Italy over the next three and a half weeks, after Italian authorities ordered a virtual lockdown of the area. 

The restrictions on travel in the affected areas of northern Italy are part of a government plan to try to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus there. 

EasyJet said it expected to continue to reduce the number of flights to and from the airports in the area, Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona until 3 April, as a part of a review of its programme. 

"We will provide a further update on our schedule in due course," EasyJet said in an emailed statement today. 

British Airways, owned by IAG, said it was reviewing its schedule, adding it had contacted all customers due to travel today. 

"We are also offering customers booked to fly before April 2, the option to change their booking up to another date up to the end of May, or to fly via Zurich or Geneva instead," BA said in a statement.