A scenario where COVID-19 could spread in two major Italian Cities and travel destinations, namely Milan and Venice would turn this situation into a disaster not only for Italy but for world tourism. Italy is on high alert after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the emergency plan late on Saturday as the number of coronavirus cases rose to 79. Two Italians people died. Police, and if necessary the armed forces, will have the authority to ensure quarantine regulations are enforced.
The regions affected are the provinces with Milan and Venice as capital cities.
A dozen towns in the two northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto have been effectively quarantined under the plan.
Around 50,000 people from towns in two northern regions have been ordered to stay at home by authorities.
Italian authorities fear the virus has gone beyond the isolated clusters of cases in Lombardy and Veneto, making it difficult to contain.
Lombardy is a region in Northern Italy. Its capital, Milan, is a global hub of fashion and finance, with many high-end shops and restaurants. Its Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of “The Last Supper,” testify to centuries of art and culture. North of Milan, Lake Como is an upscale alpine resort with dramatic scenery.
Inter Milan’s game against Sampdoria is among three Serie A fixtures that have been postponed over fears of the spread of coronavirus by the order of the Prime Minister.
Veneto is a northeastern Italian region stretching from the Dolomite Mountains to the Adriatic Sea. Venice, its regional capital, is famed for its canals, Gothic architecture and Carnival celebrations. Veneto was part of the powerful Venetian Republic for more than 1,000 years, between the 7th and 18th centuries. Near alpine Lake Garda, medieval Verona is known as the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet.”
According to Guilio Galerra who is in charge of health for Italy, the contagiousness of this virus is very strong and pretty virulent.
The United States Embassy in Rome had issued the following alert on Friday before the PM made his recent order.
Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Rome, Italy February 21, 2020
Location: Region of Lombardy, Codogno and surrounding towns of Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, and San Fiorano
Location Two: Vo’Euganeo in the Veneto region.
Event: On February 21, the Italian Ministry of Health announced 14 confirmed case of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the town of Codogno in the Lombardy region and two cases in Vo’ Euganeo near Padua
Public schools and offices have been closed in the affected areas and Italian health officials have advised residents in these areas to avoid public spaces. Travelers in the area should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.
Actions to Take:
- Consult the CDC website, for the most up-to-date information regarding enhanced screening procedures.
- Review the Department of State’s COVID-19 Travel Alert.
- Check with the airlines regarding any flight cancellations and/or restrictions on flying.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
A discussion on the sideline of the upcoming ITB travel trade show in Berlin, exhibitors, and visitors have a chance to discuss the economic impact of the virus for the travel and tourism industry. The event is organized by SaferTourism, what is part of this publication. Registration and information on www.safertourism.com/coronavirus