Italy spells out new coronavirus rules: No more kissing and over-75s told to stay home

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Italy spells out new coronavirus rules: No more kissing and over-75s told to stay home
Medical staff outside a special emergency facility set up outside a hspital in Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna. Photo: AFP

The Italian government has issued a list of new guidelines to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Here's what you need to know.


More than 3,000 people have now tested positive for the coronavirus in Italy. As the death toll passed 100 on Wednesday, the Italian government published its new emergency decree spelling out measures aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus, including nationwide school closures.

These numbers are changing constantly: view the latest figures here.

In the decree, the Italian government included recommendations on public behavioural changes, issued by the government's special scientific committee on Coronavirus, which it hopes everyone in the country will follow.

READ ALSO: How safe is it to visit Italy after the coronavirus outbreak?

The guidelines include an end to kissing and hugging your friends, and a recommendation that all over-75s should stay at home.

No more baci e abbracci

The famous Italian habit of kissing and hugging friends and acquaintances (and in some areas, people you've just met) will have to stop for the next month, the committee has decreed. Handshakes are out, too.

Keep your distance

The official advice states that people should avoid crowded places and keep “at least one metre” away from anyone else at all times.

Self-isolate if you have any symptoms

Anyone showing even mild symptoms of potential coronavirus infection is advised to stay at home.

Do not go straight to a hospital or doctor's surgery. In Italy, you can call the government's coronavirus hotline on 1500 for emergency advice in English, Italian or Chinese.

Over-75s should stay at home

The official advise is for all over '75s to stay at home and “avoid social contact”. Anyone over the age of 65 with health problems and people with respiratory conditions have also been advised to stay at home.

Don't share glasses

The guidelines also warn not to drink from the same cups, glasses or bottles as anyone else “especially during sporting events”.

New restrictions on hospital visitors

This month people will no longer be allowed to accompany friends or relatives into the emergency room and there will also be more restirctions on visitors to private clinics and retirement homes.

Sporting events closed to the public

One of the least popular rules, and one which can actually be enforced, is a ban on public attendance at all sporting events.

In the decree released on Wednesday, the government stated that "all sporting events and competitions of all types, whether private or public" can be held "in sports facilities behind closed doors - namely in the open air but without the presence of the public".

"We have to work for the country by staying within the rules and adopting lifestyles that halt the classic paths of transmission," stated  Silvio Brusaferro, the president of Italy's higher health institute, on Wednesday.

The warnings are in place for the whole of Italy for the next 30 days, though they will be re-evaluated every 15 days.

These rules are in addition to the basic hygiene advice previously issued by the Italian government.

Civil protection authorities are also setting set up tents in front of some hospitals to make sure suspected coronavirus cases do not come into contact with other patients.

According to the WHO, around 80 percent of people who contract the new coronavirus recover without needing special treatment.

Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Only around two percent of cases are fatal. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

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