New measures against the COVID-19 coronavirus were announced by Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte entailing the closure of all commercial activities. This new measure will be in force from March 12 until March 25.
According to Italy’s civil protection bulletin today, there are 10,590 infected; 827 dead; and 1,045 healing.
“I am proud of the Italian endurance test,” said Conte at the beginning of his live speech. “Italy is proving to be a large community. The world looks at us for the test of courage and endurance that we are giving. We are the first country in Europe to have been hit by COVID-19; this challenge also concerns the straining of Italy’s economic system.”
This is the latest message that PM Conte made to Italians when he informed that all commercial activities to the North and South will be interrupted except for basic necessities such as food markets, pharmacies, and public utilities.
“The health system and the economy are undergoing a severe test,” added the PM. “This is the time to take one more step – the most important one. We order the closure of all commercial and retail activities.” The PM then listed the new measures – in the first place, the health of Italians.
From March 12, all shops will be closed except those for basic necessities, such as pharmacies and food. Home delivery is allowed. The main rule remains the same: limit travel to work or for health reasons or for reasons of necessity, such as shopping. He said it is important to be aware that we have just started to change our habits, abnd we will see the effect of this great effort in a couple of weeks.
Conte then announced the appointment of a Commissioner – Domenico Arcuri – for intensive care with broad powers. He concluded his speech with: “We remain distant today to embrace tomorrow.”
The PM, thereafter, accepted the requests of the Lombardy Region for more restrictive measures in contrasting the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The announcement came a few hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a “pandemic” and after the Lombardy Region formalized the request to the government for more stringent interventions in order to slow down the infection.
The company departments not essential for production remain closed. Industries and factories will be able to continue to carry out their production activities on the condition that they take adequate safety measures to avoid contagion. The regulation of work shifts, early annual leave, and closure of non-essential departments is encouraged.
The operation of banking, postal, financial, and insurance services is guaranteed. News agents and tobacconists remain open, justified for their partially public utility service, for example, postal services. Plumbers, mechanics, and petrol pumps will remain open. This is what the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers (DPCM) provides for the new restrictions. Even the craftsmen will remain open. They are all considered essential services.
The Italian model
The Italian model is an example in Europe. France appears to be interested in implementing the measures taken by Italy. Experts from the Spallanzani specialist hospital in Rome advised European colleagues (and also from Turkish) to start equipping themselves with mechanical-respiratory instruments.
The images of the major and minor cities shown on TV, highlight the “desertification” compared to the images of the period imposed by China in its crucial moment, which is now slowly recovering.
The present situation
Luca Zaia, Governor of the Veneto region, said the country is at risk of 2 million infections by April 15.
In a contagion alert, Zaia told the Venetians to stay at home, saying “it’s a scourge, maximum rigor on new measures” for the COVID-19 coronavirus; in Veneto there is an emergency.
Today, a heartfelt appeal by Zaia was made to all citizens: “Stay home. In 5 days, if the situation does not change, there will be a spike in intensive care. The risk is that by April 15, 2 million Venetians will be infected.”
The President of Puglia, Michele Emiliano, said: “There will certainly be more and more restrictive ordinances. The important thing is not to leave the house. I want to see the empty streets. We have a moral obligation to defend the weakest.”
New cases of infections occurred in the Puglia region (the heel of the Italian boot) after the exodus of over 20,000 Apulians who fled Milan following the declaration of “We close Italy in and out.” The Governor’s heartfelt message implored his fellow citizens fleeing from north to south, “Stop and go back.
“Do not bring the epidemic that hit Lombardy, the Veneto, and Emilia Romagna to your Puglia by running away to prevent the government’s decree from entering into force.
“From this heartbreaking appeal was born the ordinance of obligation to quarantine those who arrive in Puglia from Lombardy and the 11 provinces of the north. About the lack of health tools to treat severe cases, southern Italy is less equipped than the north, so it needs the help of the central government.”
The monetary grant from UE (from un-spent funds)
Prime Minister Conte said to the Italians: “We have allocated an extraordinary sum of 25 billion euros not to be used immediately, but certainly to be used to face all the difficulties of this emergency.”
The PM remarked on the satisfaction of the European response, at a press conference at the end of the CDM: “I am delighted by the climate that is being defined at the European level,” he said.
“Yesterday, Lagarde (the ECB president) was also in liaison with the European Council; great acknowledgments and openings on the fact that more liquidity is needed, and all the tools needed to deal with this emergency.” Conte thanked the President of the Commission, Ursula Von der Leyencern.