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HEALTH

UPDATE: The latest information on the coronavirus crisis in Italy

Here's the latest news on the current coronavirus situation in Italy and how measures taken by the Italian authorities may affect you.

UPDATE: The latest information on the coronavirus crisis in Italy
Sanitation wrkers anitize the altar of the Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore church in Rome on May 13th. Photo: AFP

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Main points:

  • Italy passes 220,000 confirmed cases
  • Death toll now over 31,000
  • New cases continue to slow
  • More reopenings expected from May 18th

What's the latest on the situation in Italy?

Another 888 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Italy on Wednesday May 13th, meaning there have now been 222,104 cases in total since the outbreak began, including those patients now recovered or deceased.

There are currently 78,457 people known to be infected in Italy.

According to the latest data released by Italy's Department for Civil Protection, there were also 195 new deaths in 24 hours. This pushed the country's death toll up to 31,106.

While still worryingly high, the number of fatalities per day is significantly lower than its peak of nearly 1,000 in mid-March.

The latest data showed that a total of 112,541 people have now recovered.

New cases of coronavirus in Italy from late February to early May. Chart: Italian Civil Protection

 

Italy speeds up reopenings under phase two

Italian authorities on Monday gave the go-ahead for cafes, restaurants and hairdressers to open from May 18th.

This was originally planned for June 1st but has been moved forward.

Since May 4th, Italy has officially been in the second phase of its coronavirus lockdown, with some rules relaxed after eight weeks of nationwide orders to stay at home.

These are the key changes:

The current rules apply until May 17th, after which a new decree will come into force. 

For more details, read our Q&A here.

What hasn't changed?

You still need to carry an autocertificazione ('self-certification') form when leaving home until at least May 17th, when the rules are set to be revised again.

Find the latest version of the form here.

Travel remains tightly restricted, including within your own region. You are only supposed to go outside to buy groceries and other essentials, go to work, visit a doctor or pharmacy, exercise, see relatives or for another urgent reason.

Read more about the rules on travel within Italy here.

 Schools remain closed until at least September.

And you're still required to maintain at least a metre's distance from other people, including in shops, parks and on public transport.

Anyone with a temperature of 37.5 degrees or higher must not go out in public unless advised otherwise by a doctor.

The maximum fine for breaking quarantine rules is €3,000 euros. Penalties are even higher in some regions under local rules, and the most serious offences could result in prison terms.

Regional differences

The rules vary considerably around Italy, with some regional governments using their powers to reopen local shops and other businesses early.

Restrictions are expected to be lifted sooner in some regions than others, depending on how much new cases have slowed, how many hospital beds are available, and what capacity is in place to test and trace people who have the virus.

Check the website of your regione and comune to find out which rules apply where you are.

Read more about which regions are restarting earlier than others here.

When will it be possible to travel to Italy again?
 
Travel to Italy has become almost impossible and is now not advised by most governments, with any travellers arriving now subjected to a 14-day quarantine.
 

While a few flights are still operating to and from Italy, anyone arriving in the country is barred from using public transport and obliged to self-isolate for 14 days.

 
While Italy has not explicitly banned foreign visitors, travelling to and from Italy remains very complicated and is possible only in emergency situations.
 
 

 


How can I protect myself?

You should follow the government's guidance as well as taking the same precautions in Italy that you would anywhere else:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing or before eating.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with others where possible, and especially people who have symptoms of respiratory illness.
  • Wear a mask if you suspect you are ill, or if you are assisting someone else who is ill.
  • Clean surfaces with alcohol- or chlorine-based disinfectants.

Do not take any antibiotics or antiviral medication unless it has been prescribed to you by a doctor.

You can find the latest information about the coronavirus in Italy from the Italian Health Ministry, your country's embassy, or the WHO.

What should I do if I think I have symptoms?

The initial symptoms of Covid-19 include a cough, headache, fatigue, fever, aching and difficulty breathing.

Covid-19 is primarily spread through droplets released by an infected person when they cough, sneeze or speak, which may pass directly into someone else's mouth, nose or eyes or be transferred there via hands or objects.

Its incubation period is two to 14 days, with an average of seven days.

If you think you have the virus, do not go to hospital or your doctor's surgery: health authorities are worried about potentially infected people turning up at hospitals and passing on the virus.

READ ALSO: Italy's dedicated coronavirus phone numbers and websites

A special Italian health ministry helpline has been launched with more information on the virus and how to avoid getting it. Callers to the 1500 number can get more information in Italian, English and Chinese.

In an emergency situation, you should always call the emergency number 112.

 
Italian vocabulary

a fever – una febbre

a headache – un mal di testa

a cough – una tosse

a cold – un raffreddore

the flu – l'influenza

the coronavirus – il coronavirus

Find all The Local's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy here

*****

Hi,
 
The Local's mission is to give our readers all the information they need about what's happening in Italy. We rely on paying members to do that, but we have chosen not to put any of our articles about the coronavirus behind our hard paywall, to help keep all of our readers informed. We believe it is the right thing to do at this time.
 
This means that new or occasional readers can read articles for free. On urgent need-to-know articles and official advice about coronavirus, we are also dropping the paywall completely. That includes this article. 
 
We have received many comments from supportive readers asking how can they contribute. The best way is simply to sign up as a member. You can do that in just a few moments by clicking HERE.
 
We hope our paying members understand why we have chosen to make these articles about the coronavirus free for everyone, but if you have any questions, please let me know.
 
As for the coronavirus, you can read all our articles here.

 
Kind regards,
 
Clare,
Editor, The Local Italy

 

 

While a few flights are still operating to and from Italy, anyone arriving in the country is barred from using public transport for 14 days.

Member comments

  1. Changing the caption doesn’t mean the report is new or different. Mispelt words included… please don’t report as if new article it’s not… its regurgitated material… very frustrating. Not renewing subscription….

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HEALTH

Living in Italy: Five tips to help you survive the local pharmacy

From ear piercings to flu jabs, Italian ‘farmacie’ are among the most useful stores in the country, but they’re also very odd places. Here are our tips on getting through the pharmacy experience.

Living in Italy: Five tips to help you survive the local pharmacy

Italian pharmacies aren’t just stores selling prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

As a customer, you’ll find all sorts of natural remedies, basic health supplies and personal care items on their shelves. 

You’ll also be able to receive basic medical services (for instance, blood pressure checks, Covid tests and flu jabs) and some non-health-related ones (like getting your ears pierced!) in most branches. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: Can I still get the flu vaccine in Italy? 

But, while being extremely useful stores, Italian farmacie (pronunciation available here) are also peculiar places and their set of unwritten rules and solidified traditions may well throw off newcomers.. 

So here are five tips that might help you complete your first expeditions to your local pharmacy without making a fool of yourself.

1 – Decipher your doctor’s scribbles before your trip

Much like some of their foreign colleagues, Italian GPs have a penchant for writing prescriptions that no one else is actually able to read. 

We might never find out why doctors seem so intent on making ancient hieroglyphs fashionable again, but their calligraphic efforts will surely get in the way of you trying to buy whatever medicine you need to survive. 

To avoid hiccups, make sure you know exactly what you need to get. If in doubt, reach out to your GP to confirm.

Don’t rely on pharmacists being able to figure out your doctor’s handwriting because they often have no clue either.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to make a doctor’s appointment in Italy 

Pharmacy in Codogno, near Milan

In most small towns and rural areas local pharmacies have very ‘thin’ opening hours. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

2 – Double-check the pharmacy’s opening times

If you’re from the UK or the US, you might be used to pharmacies being open from 8am to 10pm on weekdays and having slightly reduced opening times over the weekend. 

You can forget about that in Italy. In big cities, most pharmacies will shut no later than 8pm on weekdays and will be closed on either Saturdays or Sundays.

READ ALSO: Coughs, colds and flu: What to say and do if you fall sick in Italy 

As for small towns or villages, opening times will have a nice Middle Ages vibe to them, with local stores remaining shut on weekends and keeping their doors open from 9am to 12.30pm and then from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on weekdays. 

So always check your local pharmacy’s hours before leaving home and, should their times not be available online, call them up. An awkward phone conversation with the pharmacist is still preferable to a wasted trip.

3 – Get the ‘numerino

Some Italian pharmacies have a ticket-dispensing machine with the aim of regulating the queue – a concept which is still foreign to many across the country.

All customers are expected to get a numbered paper ticket (the famed ‘numerino’) from the above machine and wait for their number to be called to walk up to the pharmacist’s desk. 

Now, the law of the land categorically prohibits customers from getting within a five-metre radius of the desk without a numerino

Also, trying to break that rule may result in a number of disdainful sideways glances from local customers.

4 – You cannot escape the in-store conversations, so embrace them 

Pharmacies aren’t just stores. They’re a cornerstone of Italian life and locals do a good deal of socialising on the premises. 

After all, the waiting times are often a bit dispiriting, so how can you blame them for killing the time?

Small pharmacy in Italy

Pharmacies are an essential part of Italian life and culture. Photo by Marco SABADIN / AFP

You might think that locals won’t want to talk to you because you’re a foreigner or don’t know the language too well, but you’ll marvel at how chatty some are.

While chit-chat might not be your cup of tea, talking with locals might help you improve your Italian, so it’s worth a shot.

5 – “Vuoi scaricarlo?”

The pharmacist finally gets you what you need and you’re now thinking that your mission is over. Well, not yet.

Before charging you for the items in question, the pharmacist will ask you whether you’d like to ‘scaricarli’ (literally, ‘offload them’) or not, which, no matter how good your Italian is, will not make any sense to you.

What the pharmacist is actually asking you is whether you want to link the purchase to your codice fiscale (tax code). 

READ ALSO: Codice fiscale: How to get your Italian tax code (and why you need one)   

That’s because Italy offers residents a 19-percent discount on some health-related expenses, which can be claimed through one’s annual income declaration (dichiarazione dei redditi) by attaching the receipts of all the eligible payments.

Whether you want to scaricare or not, this is the last obstacle before you can make your way back home.

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