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30 Mar 2020 | 05:43 PM UTC

Italy: COVID-19 lockdown to be extended until at least Easter Sunday (April 12) /update 24

Italy’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown to be extended until at least Easter Sunday (April 12); further international spread of the virus to be expected over the near term

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ITA

Event

On Monday, March 30, Italy's government announced that existing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown measures would be extended until at least Easter. Italy's health ministry did not specify the precise date on which the lockdown measures would expire but stated that the date would be included in new legislation; Easter Sunday is on April 12 this year.

Under the lockdown measures, Italian authorities are requiring all individuals in the country to stay at home and to only leave their homes for essential purposes. Most shops, restaurants, and bars are closed. Public gatherings remain suspended nationwide. All individuals are advised to work from home and respect an interpersonal distance of 1 m (3 ft).

On Sunday, March 22, Italian officials announced a ban on all domestic travel. Exceptions have been made for necessary work or health-related reasons. It remains unclear how long the ban will remain in effect.

On Tuesday, March 17, Italian authorities announced that all Italian nationals entering the country from abroad would be subject to a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days. As of Saturday, March 28, passengers entering Italy by plane, rail, road, and boat are required to declare to authorities their reason for travel, where they plan to self-isolate, how they intend to travel to their place of self-isolation, and their phone number at which they may be contacted during the 14-day self-isolation period.

As of March 30, over 100,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Italy, as well as over 11,000 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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 (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 general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or 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.