Skip to main content
31 Jan 2020 | 06:36 AM UTC

Italy: Council of Ministers issue state of emergency due to 2019-nCoV as of January 31 /update 1

Council of Ministers issues state of emergency in Italy due to novel coronavirus as of January 31 amid two confirmed cases of the virus; follow authority directives

health
transportation
ITA

Event

On Friday, January 31, the Council of Ministers has declared a state of emergency across Italy as of 10:00 (local time) due to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Authorities stated that the decision comes, "as a consequence of the health risk associated with the onset of pathologies deriving from transmissible viral agents." As of Friday, the state of emergency is in effect for six months, though may be extended later. Government officials announced the first two confirmed cases of the virus on Thursday, January 30, two Chinese tourists who arrived from Wuhan (Hubei province, China).

Further international spread of the 2019-nCoV virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

On January 30, Health Minister Roberto Speranza has announced that all flights between Italy and China will be suspended until further notice due to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. 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.

As of January 30, cases of the virus have been reported in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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. 

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries and consider rebooking options, if needed, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spreading the disease.