Authorities close non-essential businesses in Italy March 11 indefinitely; COVID-19 containment restrictions continue.

Severity: Critical Alert

This alert affects Italy

This alert began 11 Mar 2020 23:50 GMT and is scheduled to expire 18 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Preventive restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions; possible health screenings, shipping delays

Authorities have announced March 11 that all businesses except for grocery stores and pharmacies will remain closed indefinitely throughout Italy to attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. Authorities have already placed the entire country under quarantine lockdown from March 9 with no projected end date. Those measures, which affect around 60 million people, come after health officials reported 97 deaths in one day on March 9. Health officials are also urging residents to remain indoors. Other measures include:

  • Ban on unnecessary travel
  • Suspension of demonstrations or gatherings of any type, and of public or private events of any type (including cultural, sporting, recreational, or religious events); suspension of discotheque and nightspot operations.
  • Closure of resorts, swimming pools, and gyms.
  • Closure of museums and other cultural sites.
  • Closure of all schools at all levels and suspension of classes and school activities, including professional and university courses, except distance learning classes and medical or healthcare training.

More than 12,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Italy, while the death toll stands at 827 as of March 11. Authorities may add further requirements and restrictions based on disease activity throughout the country.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.

Follow all official instructions. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays and possibly result in quarantine. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Shipping disruptions may occur; consider delaying or rerouting shipments.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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