Now the Entire Country of Italy is Under Quarantine

When Giuseppe Conte — who is the current prime minister of Italy — signed a decree on the morning of Sunday, March 8, 2020, most of northern Italy was under lockdown as a result of the biggest jump in infections in one day in Italy. It was the toughest and most restrictive measure taken to control the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outside of mainland China…

Now the Entire Country of Italy is Under Quarantine

Venice gondola

Photograph ©2004 by Brian Cohen.

…until the entire country of Italy became under lockdown effective as of today, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. This means that greater than 60 million people are under quarantine through at least Friday, April 3, 2020.

“The only travel allowed will be for proven work reasons, for health conditions or other cases of necessity”, according to this article written by of the Associated Press. “Under the extended measures, casual errands are out. The time-honored Italian tradition of an espresso at the corner cafe — gone. Customers now are required to take tables, if possible, the one furthest from the bar. The evening aperitif is also frowned upon; bars close at 6 p.m. Even going to the grocery store is a major expedition.”

At the time this article was written, at least 3,809 people have died of the minimum of 109,577 confirmed cases in 104 countries and territories worldwide, according to Situation Report 49 of the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV. Of those statistics, at least 366 of those deaths occurred in Italy, where 7,375 confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus have been reported.

The majority of the cases were reported in the Lombardy region when the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was first discovered in Italy. Travel alerts were first issued by airlines for northern Italy on Tuesday, February 25, 2020; but those travel alerts were extended to all of Italy two days later.

Suspension of Services and Events in the Entire Country of Italy

Cafes and restaurants will be permitted to stay open between 6:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening on the condition that business owners can ensure people are distanced safely by at least one meter. Any violation of this condition by any business will mean the suspension of its operations.

Although most of northern Italy will be covered under the new lockdown decree, numerous measures will also apply to the entire country of Italy — including the suspension of:

  • Congress and meetings that involve health care personnel and servants of essential public services
  • Dance schools, pubs, disco and bingo
  • Religious ceremonies — including funerals
  • Schools and university classes
  • Sports events
  • Theaters and cinema

Summary

With its population of greater than 60 million people under quarantine, Italy has now matched the lockdown by China of some 60 million people in central Hubei province in late January, which is now in its sixth week.

Do you believe that the mass quarantine of the entire country of Italy is necessary; not enough action has been taken by officials in Italy; or this is an overblown reaction to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

All photographs ©2004 and ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

3 thoughts on “Now the Entire Country of Italy is Under Quarantine”

  1. BMG says:

    If it is known who is at risk and that the vast majority of people who catch this illness will be affected like any other flu or cold, another approach would be to quarantine the people at risk (who will be quarantined anyway under these rules) and let other people go about their lives, still taking normal precautions. These massive lockdowns., mass cancellations and panic measures set a frigtening precedent for what could be considered to be normal practice going forward.

  2. Christian says:

    I suspect that a month from now the US will be in a fairly similar circumstance. Italy has much stronger protections for workers than we do. As a result, someone working paycheck-to-paycheck here is much less likely to isolate themselves unless they’re certain that they’re both sick and contagious. Add in that the virus can be spread before symptoms appear and it’s going to be extremely tough to stop the spread. Given the low incidence of death among patients below 60, the government may just give up on trying to stop the spread and let it run its’ course except for a few types of places like nursing homes. I’d sure like to be wrong but we’ll see. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my travel plans intact. Hope for the best but prepare for – well maybe not the worst but a difficult time.

  3. BMG says:

    @Christian, I am hoping that, as with most scares, if it is indeed allowed to run its course, it will turn out to be not as bad as initially thought. There are too many variables and vested interests right now to be able to make any reasonable prediction about what might happen.

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