Coronavirus in Italy – Everything You Need to Know About it
(Update of 17/3/2020)
An interesting talk from Alanna Shaikh, a Global Health Consultant specialized in strengthening the health systems.
(Update of 15/3/2020)
From North to South Italy, the whole country united, thousands of people singing “Azzurro”.
Thanks to all those who shared their videos with us.
Please, friends from all over the world, take care during this challenging time, even if your country is not currently under full threat, use all the prevention measures listed below. In the end, like us Italians, this is not the end of the world.
(Update of 11/3/2020)
Let’s listen to Nonna’s Suggestion about the Coronavirus:
(Update of 10/3/2020)
The Italian Government preventing the virus spread closed down the whole country until the 3rd of April 2020. There is no more a restricted area (red area), but the whole country is under protection. People must stay at home, and limit their movements, to go out for the following reasons:
- Urgent health problems
- Situations of necessity
Until the 3rd of April 2020, it is not possible to travel to/from Italy.
The part below was written on the 3/3/2020
Have you been wondering what the Coronavirus actually is and what damage it can cause? Have you decided to cancel your next trip to Italy after the current COVID-19 outbreak? Do you think traveling to Italy can get you in serious trouble? If the answer to all these questions is YES, you MUST read this post in order to reconsider your plans.
What is the COVID-19?
Coronavirus does not need an introduction anymore after it affected China badly and the travel from and to Wuhan region of China has been almost completely stopped. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses with about 200 types such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Coronaviruses are named after their crown-shaped tips that can be seen on their surface in the microscopic images. (WHO, What is a coronavirus?)
Apart from the fact that COVID-19 is a deadly virus, the common coronaviruses can cause common cold but usually, it lasts only some days. Some major symptoms are headache, fever, runny nose, cough, and discomfort. People with weaker immune systems can further suffer from pneumonia and breathing difficulty.
“Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing any special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 person, who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develop a breathing difficulty. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough, and breathing difficulty should seek medical attention” (WHO, What are the symptoms of COVID-19?).
How does the virus spread?
Coronavirus spreads from person to person. Younger children, elderly people, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions may have more chances of getting this disease if they are exposed to this virus.
Who can be a possible victim of this outbreak?
Senior travelers, younger kids, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and a weaker immune system are more likely to catch severe disease e be a victim of the virus (Source CDC, Key Points).
Coronavirus – Should I cancel my travel? The WHO’s answer:
If you have plans to visit Italy this year and are concerned about the current outbreak of Coronavirus, please spare a moment reading this quick guide as you can still visit Italy if you’ve already planned your trip.
Whilst you should not cancel your travels to Italy, the Center of Deseas Control & Prevention (CDC) has classified Italy as level 3 and asked travelers to avoid travel due to Coronavirus in Italy, if it is not necessary. (Source CDC, Coronavirus in Italy). Also, if you already have travel plans, check everything again with your Travel Agent and carrier for any possible restrictions to avoid disruptions during your travel.
WHO Coronavirus Questions and Answers (Q&A)
What we do (and don’t) know – an answer by Professor David Heymann?
David Heymann is a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He led the World Health Organization’s global response to the SARS epidemic in 2003.
Why Italy has the highest number of cases in Europe?
What is the country’s approach towards the diagnosis tests? Maybe you do not know, but Italy tested over 23,000 people for Coronavirus while the US has tested just over 500 people so far. Ilaria Capua who is a virologist said to the state-run RAI News that the actual reason behind Italy’s high number of COVID-19 cases is that they are seeking them out and testing people who have direct contact with those infected which no other country is doing that proactively.
Italian Minister’s Measures
The Italian Government has taken several serious steps to fight against the Coronavirus which includes restricted travel towards the infected areas in the north only, calling off the sports activities and football matches, canceling the Venice Carnival partially, and by setting up 24/7 hotlines. If you think you are affected and with symptoms, you should call the emergency numbers 112 or 1500.
Coronavirus Map Italy
Looking at the map above, released from the Italian Government, we can see that It it possible to travel in all the 7904 municipalities except:
In Lombardy: Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo e San Fiorano.
In Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo.
Out of a National territory of 301,000 km2, isolated municipalities represent:
0.5% of the regional territory in Lombardy and 0.04% of the national territory
0.2% of the regional territory in Veneto and 0.01% of the national territory
Total: 0.05% of the national Italian territory
Quarantined people are 0.089% of the total population.
World Interactive Live Map
The World Health Organisation has created a live interactive dashboard where is possible to see on the map the current situation of all the countries of the world.
What to do if you already have planned a visit to Italy?
- Being a traveler, you should avoid contact with sick people or those who could be ill, as well as, large crowds and gatherings while in Italy.
- Wash your hands more often for at least 20 seconds with water and soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with over 60% alcohol.
- You MUST clean your hands after using the washroom, coughing, blowing your nose, sneezing, and before eating.
- Do not visit any areas that Italian authorities have restricted for travel, especially the lockdown zones in Northern Italy.
- Cover your mouth while you sneeze or cough.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose if your hands are unwashed.
- Throw away handkerchief or tissue after you use it.
- Face masks are recommended only for those who have flu-like symptoms.
Basic Protective Measures against the new Coronavirus
Check all the latest coronavirus’ myth busters like receiving parcels from China or getting the virus from your pets.
Important Links and Contact Numbers for Updates and Information Regarding Coronavirus or COVID-19 in Italy
- Italy’s La Repubblica Newspaper which updates on an hourly basis.
- The Tuscany Region Coronavirus information page contains necessary information about the virus and what should you do. The page also contains the updates of actions taken by their task force.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): which is a prominent institute of the national public health in the United States.
- US Embassy and Consulates in Italy: covering the latest updates about any travel restrictions.
- Ministero Delle Salute: Ministry of Health, Italian government: it has up to date information regarding Coronavirus in Italy. This page is in the Italian language so open it on Google Chrome to translate it automatically.
- If you are in Italy at the moment and feel the symptoms of Coronavirus, you can call the emergency numbers 112 or 1500.
Life in Provincial (South) Italy
In Abruzzo region where I live together with my family, life proceeds as usual. Although we are worried like everyone on the planet, we live as usual: we work, we go shopping, we visit the weekly farmers market, we take aperitivi and more. As opposed to travel to the big cities, in my case, I take more time for myself and visit the small villages or take walks in the nature. In this delicate moment, where we still know little about the future of the Coronavirus, I suggest taking time to slow down, take precautions, and let the time do the rest. In the meantime you can buy a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine (don’t worry the virus doesn’t spread through objects), a good book, prepare some of Nonna’s recipe and dedicate some time to yourself and loved ones while staying at home.
If you were planning to come to Abruzzo, we ask if you can dedicate a moment to read our call to help and see if we can help each other.