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09 Mar 2020 | 05:02 PM UTC

Italy: Government imposes nationwide restrictions on movement March 10 /update 15

Prime Minister Conte announces imposition of restrictions on movement across all of Italy over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns, effective March 10; follow government directives

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ITA

Event

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new measures on Monday, March 9, that would restrict movement across all of Italy over concerns from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country. Per the directives, which will be effective as of Tuesday, March 10, until at least April 3, individuals will not be allowed to enter or leave the areas in which they live. Exemptions will be made for those who demonstrate a need for movement, such as work or health-related concerns. Schools nationwide will also be shut down throughout the abovementioned period. On weekends, all pubs, restaurants, and cafes will be required to close at dusk.

To date, Italy has reported 9172 confirmed cases of COVID-19, representing the most of any nation outside of China.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the near term.

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 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.

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 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.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their 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.