Authorities in Italy announce coronavirus (COVID-19) containment restrictions in Lombardy region and northern provinces through April 3.

Severity: Critical Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Milan
  • Venice
  • Padua

This alert began 08 Mar 2020 06:52 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Preventive restrictions
  • Location(s): Lombardy Region, northern provinces (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 3
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions; possible health screenings, shipping delays

Summary
Authorities in Italy have placed Lombardy Region, including the city of Milan and 14 other provinces in the northern part of the country, under lockdown as of March 8. The quarantine will remain in place at least until April 3. The affected provinces include Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Venice, Treviso, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, and Alessandria. The measure, which affects at least 10 million people, comes after health officials reported around 5,061 COVID-19 cases and 233 related deaths as of March 7.

Health officials are urging residents to remain indoors. Other measures include:

  • Ban on entry to or exit from the affected area.
  • 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.


Authorities may extend these edicts upon their expiration dates, or add further requirements based on disease activity in the affected locations. In Milan, the city government closed its offices Feb. 22, and two prominent trade shows were suspended Feb. 23 due to concerns over COVID-19. The city of Venice suspended the last two days of its Carnival celebration, which were to take place Feb. 24-25, in response to the disease activity.

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.

Advice
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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