Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Italy extends lockdown related to COVID-19 through at least May 3. Severe transport, business disruptions to continue.

This alert affects Italy

This alert began 11 Apr 2020 11:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 3
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions

Summary
Italian authorities announced that they would extend the nation's current lockdown until at least May 3 in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Pharmacies, newsagents, tobacconists, supermarkets, and the supply chains that support them will remain open. While most nonstrategic businesses will remain closed, the government has stated that from April 14, the limited reopening of some businesses will resume, including bookstores, stationery stores, clothing stores for children and babies, and companies in the forestry and wood industry. 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 lower capacity than usual.

In the Lombardy Region, which has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases, additional stringent measures have been in effect since March 22. All outdoor sporting activities are banned, including individual activities such as jogging; residents must remain within 200 meters (656 feet) of their homes while walking pets; visits to public parks or green spaces are prohibited; and all hotels and guest houses not related to emergency management have been closed since March 25.

Under the nationwide lockdown, which has been in effect since March 9, residents are being urged to remain indoors. Other measures include:

  • Ban on unnecessary travel; individuals may not travel between municipalities by public or private transport, except as required by employment or in case of emergency or health needs
  • 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 add further requirements and restrictions based on disease activity in the country.

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 the 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 government correspond with 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
Italy Government: www.governo.it

World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int