The Italian Civil Protection Agency announced on Tuesday, March 10, that the death toll from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak reached 168 over a 24-hour period, bringing the total fatalities to 631. This represents the highest death toll recorded in a single day since the beginning of the outbreak in the country. As of Wednesday, March 11, health officials have confirmed 10,149 COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 724 recoveries, representing the most cases of any nation outside of China.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new measures on Monday, March 9, that would restrict movement across all of Italy over COVID-19 concerns. Per the directives, individuals will not be allowed to enter or leave the areas in which they live, which will be in effect as of March 10, until at least Friday, April 3. Exemptions will be made for those with demonstrable needs for movement, such as work or health-related reasons. Schools nationwide will also be shut throughout this period. On weekends, all pubs, restaurants, and cafes will be required to close at dusk.
Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over 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 February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
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.