The Italian Ministry of Health announced a record daily rise of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases since the pandemic's beginning on Thursday, October 29. The previous 24-hour total of 26,831 brings the country's total to 616,595 infections to date. A total of 38,122 people have died due to complications from the virus with the northern region of Lombardy being the hardest hit, which reported 7,339 cases on Thursday. The second-most affected region is Campania, which registered 3,103 cases. The Ministry also reported that 207 additional deaths were recorded on Thursday.
As a result of the ever-increasing cases, authorities have announced that new restrictions have begun nationwide with the mandatory closure of cinemas, swimming pools, and gyms with bars and restaurants only permitted to open until 18:00 (local time). Most other shops and businesses may continue operating. The majority of secondary school classes are to be taught online under the new restrictions. People are encouraged to remain at home and to limit mixing with other households. The decision to increase restrictions comes despite protests in Rome and Naples against 23:00 to 05:00 curfews and increased restrictions implemented in several regions.
A state of emergency in Italy has been extended until January 31, 2021, and face masks are compulsory outdoors and in enclosed public spaces between 18:00 and 06:00. Travel restrictions remain in place, with arrivals permitted from some countries and restrictions vary based on the infection rates in these countries. A full list of restrictions can be found here.
Further international spread of the virus 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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 disease.