SHARE
COPY LINK
Paywall free

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

We have chosen to make this article completely free for everyone. Our website relies on readers signing up as members. Please consider joining as a member. Scroll to the bottom for more information.

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….

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

HEALTH

Q&A: What you need to know about Italy’s West Nile virus outbreak

As Italy records a surge in cases of West Nile fever, we look at what the disease is and where in the country it's spreading.

Q&A: What you need to know about Italy's West Nile virus outbreak

Mosquitos are unfortunately one downside of summer in Italy. But as well as being a nuisance, they may also pose a health risk in the country – one of the few in Europe to record cases of West Nile virus (WNV)

READ ALSO: Cases of West Nile fever surge in northern Italy

Last week Italy recorded 50 more cases of the mosquito-borne virus, bringing the total number of infections to 144 according to the latest report from Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS).

This marked a 53-percent increase in cases against the previous week, while ten people have died so far.

As the number of infections continues to rise, here are the answers to the most pressing questions about the disease and the outbreak in Italy.

What is it?

The West Nile Virus (WNV) is a single-stranded RNA virus that can cause West Nile fever in humans.

It’s a member of the Flavivirus family together with other endemic viruses such as the Zika and Dengue viruses.

The virus was first identified in 1937 in Uganda’s West Nile district but has since spread to many other parts of the world, to the point that it is now considered indigenous to Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. 

Carried by birds, West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

The West Nile virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes of the Culex species, which infect humans and other mammals through their bite, according to Italy’s health ministry.

There is no evidence that human-to-human transmission is possible.

Where are cases being reported in Italy?

Infections have been largely concentrated in the north of the country, especially in the Veneto region, where six people have now died of the disease. Other deaths were recorded in Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna.

The city of Padua, which is located in Veneto’s mainland, around 35 kilometres away from the Adriatic coast, is currently regarded as the hotspot of the virus. 

It isn’t yet clear why Veneto has been the worst-hit region so far, but experts fear that its marshy lowlands might be the perfect breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. 

A mosquito of the Culex species viewed under a microscope.

Mosquitoes of the Culex species, a specimen of which is pictured above, are responsible for transmitting the West Nile Virus to humans and other mammals. Photo by Jon CHERRY Getty Images / AFP

How severe is the outbreak in Italy?

West Nile virus is not new to Italy. However, this summer has brought the highest number of cases recorded yet.

National infection levels remain relatively low but the country has by far the largest number of cases in Europe.

According to the most recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), dated August 3rd, 94 out of 120 recorded cases were in Italy.

Greece had 23 reported cases. Romania and Slovakia had two and one respectively. 

Italy is the only European country that has reported fatalities.

What are the symptoms?

According to the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS), around 80 percent of infected people show no symptoms whatsoever.

In symptomatic cases, however, symptoms generally resemble those of a common flu and include fever, headaches, nausea and diarrhoea. 

The infection is usually only dangerous for people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly, and the most severe symptoms occur in fewer than one percent of infected people.

In healthy people, the virus is unlikely to cause more than a headache or sore throat, and symptoms generally last only a few days.

According to the data currently available, around one in 150 infected people can show symptoms as serious as partial vision loss, convulsions and paralysis. 

In very rare cases (around 0.1 percent, or one in 1000) the disease can cause brain infections (encephalitis or meningitis) which may eventually be fatal.

Brazilian biologists handle mosquito larvae.

There is currently no vaccine against West Nile disease, though several are being tested. Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP

Is there a cure?

There is no vaccine against West Nile fever. “Currently vaccines are being studied, but for the moment prevention consists mainly in reducing exposure to mosquito bites,” the ISS states.

There is also no specific treatment for the disease caused by the virus.

Patients showing the more serious symptoms are usually admitted to hospital and treated with IV fluids and assisted ventilation.

What should you do to protect yourself?

Seeing as there is currently no vaccine against the virus, the best way to protect oneself is by reducing exposure to mosquitoes as much as possible.

Italian health authorities have listed a number of official recommendations to help residents avoid mosquito bites. These include: 

  • Use repellent
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when being outdoors and especially during ​​mosquitoes’ peak activity times, i.e. sunrise and sunset
  • Use mosquito nets on your windows or sleep in rooms with air-conditioning and keep the windows closed
  • Make sure there are no pools of stagnant water around your house

See more information about West Nile virus in Italy on the health ministry’s website.

SHOW COMMENTS