We live 100 km south of Rome. There are now 4,573 confirmed cases in our region (Lazio). In our town,(population:- 39,000.) there are now 86 confirmed cases. No new cases have been reported in the last few days and the town is no longer a “red zone.” But we still have to follow the national government’s guidelines.
Police are patrolling the town and using a megaphone urging all citizens to stay at home and follow the guidelines issued by the town council. If you go out for some non-essential reason, you could be fined €3,000. Drones may also be used by police to track people’s movements. This evening the Mayor appealed again to everybody to stop non-essential movement.
The gyms, health centers, and betting shops are now all closed in the town, until further notice. The Town Council has inaugurated a service for elderly folk who can order food from shops and have free delivery.
The government has decreed that the whole of Italy is now a protected zone — not a total lockdown but near enough. We have been told to stay at home and go out only for shopping and medical supplies. This was no surprise in view of the fact that Italy now has the largest number of cases and deaths after China. The Prime Minister announced this evening that all shops and offices will be closed until further notice, (probably on May 4) except for supermarkets, food suppliers, pharmacies and other essential services including transport.
Staff at supermarkets are now wearing masks and visors. Also, only 4 people are allowed in at a time to ensure the distance rule of 2 meters is followed.
The government has appealed for doctors to help and almost 8,000 doctors from other parts of Italy have offered to help the Lombardy region cope which is under extreme pressure at the moment. In addition, both Russia and China have sent army doctors and personnel with equipment to help Italy get through this health crisis.
Update:- April 26. 19.00. Just watched the Department of Civil Protection daily bulletin on TV. This will no longer be a daily event as numbers are consistently falling. A definitely more optimistic picture in that the good news is that the numbers are definitely showing a downward trend. Number of cases is now 106,103. (there was an increase of 256 cases compared to falling numbers for each day last week.) Total number of deaths is 26,664. ( -156 deaths compared to Saturday’s figure.) Most of these had other serious conditions when they fell ill. The death rate is 12.82%. In the central and south of Italy, contagion has halted so authorities are optimistic that this will continue. Italian health officials say that 80% of patients tested have few or no symptoms and they will recover without any special treatment. The good news is that 64,928 patients have already fully recovered.
The head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has congratulated Italy on its energetic and thorough approach in its efforts to contain the virus and to limit its spread.
The Prime Minister and the President of Italy have both made television appearances asking the nation to collaborate and to avoid panic.
Walter Ricciardi (WHO) has said it is vital to put this epidemic into a more balanced perspective:-
“Of 100 sick people, 80 get well of their own accord, 15 have serious but manageable problems, 5% are extremely serious, of which 3% die. Furthermore, as you know, all the people who died already had serious health conditions.”
Mr. Ricciardi also said that Italy was certainly not the epicenter of the virus and it would take two weeks to assess whether the rigorous measures taken had been effective or not.
Italy acted fast
Italy was one of the first countries in the EU to start airport screenings on incoming passengers and canceling flights to and from China on Jan. 31. There has been no definite information on the original source of infection, such as a super-spreader.
Finally, the EU Commission has praised the Italian authorities for their fast and professional response to controlling the coronavirus outbreak and are confident that it will be brought under control soon.
“Death can be as common as the common cold.
We have taken everything for granted, but we forget that we are only travelers here for a short time.
So don’t play the bus driver when you don’t know how to drive.”
― Anthony T. Hincks.
A big thank you to those who are following my Italy stories. Your help and support is much appreciated at this difficult time.
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