Why Is Italy Experiencing So Many Coronavirus Cases?
No country in Europe has been impacted more by the COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak than Italy. As of March 8, 2020, there have been at least 7,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 230 deaths have been reported.
The outbreak has become so significant that the administrative region of Lombardy has been subjected to a mandatory quarantine. The area includes the city of Milan and includes close to ten million people. The issue has come about due to people from China spreading the illness and Italians traveling to China, bringing it with them.
How Did It Start?
Patient zero in the coronavirus outbreak in Italy is unknown. But it is known that the first cases of COVID-19 occurred in Italy on January 31, 2020. A couple from China who arrived in the country a few days earlier tested positive for the virus. An Italian who repatriated in the area from Wuhan also tested positive, not long after that.
Over time, many other people in Italy who had either traveled to China or been near people who were in China recently had started to contract the virus.
It would not be until around February 22 when coronavirus cases started to become more noticeable. Much of this is due to the virus having a long incubation period. Some people who have the infection were prescribed influenza medications, but those treatments did not work well. The COVID-19 virus has effects similar to what people might expect out of influenza.
What Could Happen?
The greatest fear is that the number of new infections in Italy could rise over time. On March 7, there was a total of nearly 1,500 new cases of coronavirus infections.
There are also more than thirty countries and territories that have experienced COVID-19 cases linked to Italy. These include cases in Germany, the United States, and India. Most of the issues come from people who have traveled to Italy in recent times. These people might have been in areas where the virus has been spreading.
The issue has led to the quarantine of the Lombardy area in the northern part of the country. The Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions to the north have also experienced dramatic impacts.
What Are the Rules of the Quarantine?
The new quarantine in the country is one of the most substantial ones in the world. A few notes surround the quarantine in northern Italy:
- The quarantine will go until April 3. People could be jailed if they try to enter or leave the region without permission.
- Various sites will be closed down, including ski resorts.
- Public events will be banned during the quarantine. These include weddings and funerals.
- People will only be able to move about for emergency purposes. People who have work obligations that they cannot postpone in any way may also be allowed to move through the region.
The quarantine is the most dramatic one in the world since China requested the quarantine of nearly half a billion people in that country. The effort has limited the general spread of the virus in that area.