On March 10th, 60 million people in Italy went into lockdown, imposing tight rules on movement within the country. This comes on the heels of a spike in coronavirus cases that have been overwhelming the Italian medical system. Italy’s handling of the coronavirus is fast becoming an example for the world as COVID-19 spreads across the globe and is declared a worldwide pandemic. Yesterday, Donald Trump announced a flight ban to the US from the European continent, Canadian provinces are beginning to shut schools, cancel large gatherings, and advise people to stay home if possible. Examining how Italy has managed the outbreak will help other countries handle their own COVID-19 situations and decide whether or not to go into a preemptive lockdown to get ahead of the virus.
Italy is shut down; all bars, museums, schools, cinemas, gyms and other non-essential venues are closed and even marriages, funerals, and baptisms are banned. The epidemic started in Lombardy, Northern Italy and the town quickly went into quarantine with police car and Carabinieri roadblocks but it was already too late by that point as the virus has since spread around the country with over 12,000 reported cases and more than 800 fatalities.
The Spread Of The Deadly COVID-19 In Italy
The WHO reported on March 12th 125,048 global cases, 12,462 of which are confirmed in Italy. Italy has surpassed Iran and South Korea in COVID-19 infections and is second only to China, where the outbreak began.
January 30th, 2 tourists from China were reported as having the virus in Northern Italy and over the next few weeks, a few more patients were confirmed and eventually Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmonte, Emilia-Romagna, and Marche were put under quarantine. Some measures were taken to limit its transmission in the region but they did nothing outside of the province of Lodi, underestimating the rapidfire infectious nature of COVID-19. On March 8th, the coronavirus had jumped the quarantine zone and Prime Minister Conte announced more lockdown areas but just 2 days later, he extended the lockdown to the entire country. The lockdown is set to last until April 3rd, everything is shut down except grocery stores, pharmacies, and essential government services. No one is allowed to move around the country unless there is an emergency. While some of Italy’s politicians have criticised the lockdown measures, complaining that things are unclear, and others are concerned about the economic ramifications; the Director of the WHO (World Health Organization) says that the lockdown is necessary, and Italy has set an example for the rest of the world by imposing strict restrictions despite the cost. To ease the financial burden that the shut down will inevitably cause citizens, Italy has suspended mortgage payments.
The World Is Watching
China has reported that they now have the COVID-19 pandemic under control with only 24 new infections reported on Wednesday. Beijing has sent a delegation of medical experts, masks, and ventilators to Spain and Italy to help them contain their outbreaks.
The world is watching to see how Italy’s stringent shutdown performs in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus. As the number of reported cases spreads around the globe, countries have to make tough decisions on how to control outbreaks on their soil.
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