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23 Mar 2020 | 07:06 AM UTC

Italy: Government enacts further restrictive measures due to COVID-19 March 22 /update 21

Authorities shut all non-strategic businesses and ban all domestic travel as of March 22 due to COVID-19; follow all directives

health
ITA

Event

The government announced on Sunday, March 22, that, effective immediately, it would ban all domestic travel to avoid further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Exceptions will be made for necessary work or health-related reasons. It remains unclear how long the ban will remain in effect.

On Saturday, March 21, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, announced that all businesses will remain closed until at least Friday, April 3, with the exception of essential businesses, including supermarkets, pharmacies, postal and banking services, as well as essential public services including transport.

Under the lockdown measures, Conte is advising all individuals in the country to stay at home. Public gatherings remain suspended nationwide. All individuals are recommended advised to work from home and respect an interpersonal distance of 1 m (3 ft).

On Tuesday, March 17, Italian authorities announced that all Italian nationals entering the country from abroad will be subject to a mandatory self-isolation of 14 days. This measure will be in place through Wednesday, March 25. Those who enter Italy for valid working reasons and leave the country within 72 hours are exempt from the policy.

As of March 22, health officials have confirmed 53,578 COVID-19 cases nationwide along with 4827 fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

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.

Advice

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 nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

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, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.