Although the head of the Department of Civil Protection of Italy, Angelo Borrelli, said that all the deceased were elderly with “previous pathologies” and described the Italian response to the outbreak as “immediate and timely”, this does not instill calm people, while the number of those infected continues to grow.
On February 25, the Italian health authorities detected two new patients in the cities of Florence and Palermo, thus confirming the first case of the virus in the south of the country.
The situation is terrifying, but we must recognize that the Italian authorities began to react quickly.
At least ten towns in the municipality of Lodi, where the first and strongest outbreak of the disease was recorded, are now completely isolated. Restaurants, bars and shops remain closed, while the police patrol the streets to control the situation.
The authorities of the areas most affected by the disease also suspended sports, recreational, religious and cultural activities. In addition, six northern regions of the country decided to close schools, universities and kindergartens for at least one week.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on February 23 that he was very surprised by the drastic increase in cases of the coronavirus in Italy.
At the same time, the chief executive highlighted the high quality of medical controls, stressing that in Italy about 4,000 people were tested for the virus.
“We are the first country in Europe that introduced more precise and rigorous controls and from the beginning we opted for the line of maximum caution. This could also be an explanation of the cases detected,” Conte said.
Conte also declared the prohibition of entry or exit of quarantined areas, with the exception of who receives a special permit.
Meanwhile, the central region of Lazio introduced fines for those who return from the outbreaks of the outbreak and do not communicate it to local health authorities.
In Rome, where three cases of the coronavirus were detected, prevention measures were reinforced, such as:
- additional public transport cleaning shifts
- the distribution of disinfectants to bus drivers and gloves and masks to private station guards
Culture in danger
Italy is one of the main tourist destinations in Europe thanks to its great cultural heritage. Numerous museums, cathedrals, works of art and archaeological parks attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
However, the attractiveness of Italian cities is decreasing as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus grows.
While some tourists cancel their trips to the spread of the virus, others, braver, are disappointed with strict security measures that hit, among other areas, the cultural sphere.
Several cultural events have already been postponed or canceled in various parts of the country. In Lombardy and Veneto, all museums, galleries, libraries and theaters, including La Scala in Milan and La Fenice in Venice, are closed, while the famous Venice Carnival was suspended two days before its closure.
The largest places of interest in the Liguria region are also not open to the public, although there were no cases of coronavirus detected there, and the Aquarium and the Doge’s Palace are closed in Genoa. Similar measures were taken in the regions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige.
In turn, the film studio Paramount pictures he postponed a filming of ‘Mission Impossible 7’ starring Tom Cruise, scheduled for Venice “due to the safety and welfare of the cast and crew.”
The coronavirus does not go unnoticed for Italian tourism.
According to the president of the Assoturismo Confesercenti association, Vittorio Messina, the disease outbreak and the measures to combat it already caused the cancellation of 50% of the travel reservations.
“The tourism industry in Italy is suffering very significant losses,” Messina said, calling the reaction of people to the COVID-19 outbreak in several northern regions “very emotional.”
A study conducted for Assoturismo Confesercenti at the beginning of the month, before the current outbreak, estimated at 1.6 billion euros the minimum damage that fear of the coronavirus could cause to the tourism sector in Italy.
Even the best scenario pointed to that the number of Chinese visitors It would decrease by 30% (1.6 million arrivals) and that of tourists from other countries, by 6% (11.6 million).
At the moment, it is difficult to assess the losses caused by the disease, and it remains to be expected that the measures of the Italian authorities will allow to stop the spread of the coronavirus.