Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced further lockdown measures on Wednesday, March 11, aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The new measures are in effect nationwide between Thursday, March 12, through Wednesday, March 25. After advising all individuals in the country to stay at home, he explained that under the new measures all non-essential businesses will close including museums, cinemas, resorts, retail, restaurants, and personal services. Public gatherings remain suspended nationwide. All individuals are recommended to work from home and respect an interpersonal distance of 1 m (3 ft). Essential services such as the agriculture, finance, and public transport sectors remain operational, as well as pharmacies and markets selling only foodstuffs. Prime Minister Conte clarified that catering services such as canteens and food and drink establishments in the vicinity of public transport can only operate if they can guarantee a distance of 1 m (3 ft) between persons. He also said that interregional automotive services as well as rail, air, and sea transport services will be reduced. However, any individual requiring essential travel must first have police permission.
While essential domestic and international travel from Italy is still possible under specific circumstances as of Thursday, numerous countries worldwide have restricted or banned travel to or from Italy. Potentially impacted individuals are advised to contact their embassy for more information.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed 12,462 cases of COVID-19 nationwide as of 18:00 (local time) on March 11, including 827 associated fatalities. The highest number of cases have been recorded in Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna regions respectively. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.