Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Italy to ease certain restrictions related to COVID-19 starting May 4 as part of phase two of a multi-phase recovery plan.
This alert affects Italy
This alert began 27 Apr 2020 19:01 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 May 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Heightened security; transport and business disruptions
Italian authorities plan to ease certain restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as part of phase two of their plan for reopening the country. The following changes will go into effect starting May 4:
- Movement within regions will be allowed; movement between different regions will remain suspended.
- Funerals will be allowed to resume, but with a maximum of 15 attendees.
- Outdoor exercise will be allowed without any restrictions.
- Face masks will remain mandatory on public transport.
Certain businesses, including bookstores, stationery stores, children's and infants' clothing stores, and companies in the forestry and lumber industries, reopened on April 14.
Authorities could ease restrictions further during mid-May, provided there is no major increase in the rate of infections with COVID-19. Restrictive measures could be reintroduced over the course of the plan if disease activity rises.
The following measures remain in place indefinitely in Italy:
- 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
Pharmacies, newsagents, tobacconists, supermarkets, and the supply chains that support them remain open. Public offices, excluding emergency services and public utilities, will remain closed. Financial services, post offices, and public transport will continue to operate, though likely at a lower capacity than usual.
Additionally, extensive air travel disruptions, including airport closures and the suspension of international flights, are ongoing as a result of reduced demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous major airlines, including EasyJet (U2) and British Airways (BA), suspended all flights to and from Italy after the government imposed its nationwide quarantine. In addition, several European countries have prohibited all flights from Italy due to concerns over COVID-19. Italian authorities also suspended all scheduled passenger operations at Rome-Ciampino Airport (CIA) from March 14 and closed Terminal 1 at Rome-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) from March 17; all passenger operations have been consolidated at FCO's Terminal 3.
Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Italian government are similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.