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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.

 
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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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ENVIRONMENT

REVEALED: These are the most polluted towns in Italy

The northern cities of Milan and Turin were named Italy's 'smog capitals' in a new pollution report on Monday which urged the government to take action over poor air quality.

REVEALED: These are the most polluted towns in Italy
Photo: Pixabay

Smog and pollution are choking Italian cities year-round and many towns are exceeding limits on fine particles and other pollution, according to another report from Italian environmental watchdog Legambiente.

The Mal’aria di città (Air pollution in the city) report for 2023, unveiled on Monday, was the latest to warn about the risks to health posed by pollution in many parts of the country.

It found that 25 of 95 cities monitored had violated clean air ordinances by exceeding daily fine particle (PM10) emission limits, which are currently set at no more than 35 days a year with a daily average of over 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

Turin was ranked as the worst offender, exceeding this level on 90 days, closely followed by Milan (84), Asti (79), Modena (75), and Padua and Venice at 70.

These were followed by Cremona, Treviso, Mantua and Rovigo, all of which exceeded limits to a lesser degree.

All of the most polluted cities were in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, with most within the north-western ‘industrial triangle’.

Some southern cities featured nearer the bottom of the ranking, with Andria (Puglia) and Ragusa (Sicily) exceeding limits on several days, as well as Rome, which overshot the permitted level for one day.

(Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

The average annual rate of PM10 emissions nationwide dropped slightly, by two percent year-on-year, the report found.

“This, however, is not enough to guarantee the health of citizens,” said Stefano Ciafani, president of Legambiente.

He pointed out that the situation looked even worse if air quality in Italian cities were measured against tighter limits under the new European Directive on air quality, in force from 2030, which lowers the PM10 threshold from 35 to 20 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

“Only 23 out of 96 cities (24 percent) would be under these limits,” Ciafani said, while 84 percent would exceed the threshold for PM2.5 and 61 percent for nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Italy has repeatedly been reprimanded by the European Union over air quality, and has “persistently and systematically” breached EU recommended limits, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2020.

The north of Italy has long been ranked among the worst areas in Europe for polluted air according to data from the European Environment Agency.

“Air pollution is not only an environmental problem, but also a health problem of great importance,” said Ciafani. “In Europe, it’s the main cause of premature death due to environmental factors.”

“Italy has more than 52,000 deaths per year caused by PM2.5 emissions, equal to a fifth of those recorded throughout the continent,” he said.

The main causes of air pollution in Italian cities are reported to be industry, inefficient domestic heating systems, agricultural practices and, most of all, heavy traffic.

In Italy, cars continue to be by far the most-used means of transport. 65.3 percent of journeys overall are made by car, Legambiante wrote, with the emissions from some 38 million cars choking Italy’s towns and cities.

(Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Legambiente said “drastic” measures were required to tackle the problem, including funds for more efficient heating systems in homes and public buildings and a major increase in public transport provision.

The group said Italy must “quadruple the availability of public transit, promoting integrated season tickets as done by Germany in 2022”, triple the number of electric buses, create zero-emission zones in town centres, and “create another 16,000 kilometres of cycle paths”.

It also praised local authorities choosing to bring in 30 km/h speed limits in city centres. Councils in Bologna, Turin, Milan and Cesena have all said they plan to implement these limits, following the lead of European cities including Paris and Madrid, despite fierce criticism from Italian transport minister Matteo Salvini.

Legambiente published a petition urging the government to make clean air and more livable cities a priority, saying Italy should follow Paris in attempting to create ’15-minute cities’, in which everyone lives within a quarter of an hour’s walk of vital amenities such as shops and schools and possibly also workplaces.