Coronavirus (COVID-19) containment restrictions to remain in place in parts of Italy's Lombardy, Veneto regions through at least March 8.

Severity: Warning Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Milan
  • Venice
  • Padua

This alert began 23 Feb 2020 23:09 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Preventive restrictions
  • Location(s): Lombardy, Veneto regions (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least March 1 in Venuto, March 8 in Lombardy
  • Impact: Heightened security; transport and business disruptions; possible health screenings, shipping delays

Summary
Authorities in Italy's Lombardy and Veneto regions published new ordinances, Feb. 23, detailing restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in their respective jurisdictions. The measures follow a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the related death of two individuals. As of early Feb. 23, health officials have reported at least 79 COVID-19 cases.

In the Veneto region, the following restrictions are in effect in the towns of Vo Euganeo in Padua Province and Mira in Venice Province through at least March 1:

  • Suspension of demonstrations or gatherings of any type, of public or private events of any type (including cultural, sporting, recreational, or religious events); suspension of discotheque and night spot operations;
  • Closure of all schools at all levels and suspension of classes and school activities, including professional and university courses, with the exception of distance learning classes and medical or healthcare training;
  • Closure of museums and other cultural sites;
  • Suspension of educational trips within Italy or abroad;

 

  • Persons entering Veneto from a WHO-defined epidemiological risk area must report to the Department of Preventative Healthcare for possible home quarantine with active surveillance.


In the Lombardy Region, authorities have imposed comparatively tighter restrictions on 10 townships in Lodi Province - Casalpusterlengo, Codogno, Castiglione d'Adda, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, and San Fiorano - effectively placing them on lockdown through March 8. In addition to provisions nearly identical to those implemented in the Venuto Region, Lombardy regional authorities are enforcing the following measures on the 10 affected locations:

  • Ban on entry to or exit from any of the 10 listed towns;
  • Suspension of local government offices operations, with the exception of essential services and public utilities;
  • Closure of commercial activities, with the exception of those required to provide essential services, public utilities, or the sale of basic necessities;
  • Residents required to wear personal protective gear (e.g. face masks), as defined by the Department of Preventative Healthcare, when engaging in certain activities in public;
  • Suspension of land, rail, and waterway freight and passenger transport services, including local public transportation but with the exception of those required to transport essential goods;
  • Suspension of work activity at businesses, with the exception of those required for essential services and utilities, or which are performed in a home-based business or by telecommuting.


Authorities may extend these edicts upon their expiration dates, or add further requirements based on disease activity in the affected locations. Moreover, municipalities within the Lombardy and Venuto regions that are not covered by specific restrictions could cancel events, close public offices, or take other measures out of an abundance of caution. In Milan, the city government closed its offices Feb. 22, and two prominent trade shows were suspended Feb. 23 due to concerns over COVD-19. The city of Venice has 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 coronavirus disease 2019 (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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