People around the world are saying many things about the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. It is completely understandable, especially in a situation where information in English is hard to retrieve and very confusing. Prontopia thought that it would be useful for everyone to give a summary of the most valuable and unbiased information we can gather about the coronavirus in Italy.
For the duration of the coronavirus outbreak, Prontopia will be providing free assistance in Italy for those over 65 or who have chronic illnesses. To get assistance for you or someone you know getting groceries, picking up medication, or walking dogs, simply fill out this form and we will be in contact.
(We will keep updating this post. Updated March 13, 2020).
Here the infographic we sent out on the situation in Italy on February 24th:
Let's see and update the information in more details:
"Coronavirus" is a family of viruses that range from the normal flu to S.A.R.S. The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus in the family discovered in the massive outbreak of infections in Wuhan, China.
Like other coronaviruses, its symptoms can be cold, fever, cough, sore throat, the worst symptoms being pneumonia and respiratory syndromes. Only 10% of the infected people develops severe symptoms.
A new coronavirus outbreak has hit Italy, with the majority of cases being in the Lombardy region. After only two weeks the count of infected people grew steadily, reaching thousands of cases.
Italian PM issued an emergency decree to contain the infection. Thus, Italy has become a protected area. People are advised to move as little as they can or to stay home. They are not allowed to move unless necessary, sanitary and working reasons, which have to be proved by an official paper.
Italy isn't yet under quarantine, people are allowed to get out of their homes and go about their daily life activity, although it is suggested to do so as little as possible. This is the reason why many people find it confusing to determine the limit of this protected area, in fact private businesses and activities haven't forcibly shut down.
We will see if more precise information will be released by the PM in these days.
Italy has taken all the needed precautions establishing many regional emergency numbers. It must be noted that the big number of Italian cases is linked to the fact that Italy is “actively seeking them out”.
The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued the "Level 4, Avoid Nonessential Travel". It recommends nonessential travels. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.
This means that older adults and people with chronic medical conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease. Follow the prevention best practices:
Wash your hands often and with soap for 20 seconds;
Cover your mouth and nose (not with hands) when sneezing or coughing;
Do not touch your mouth, nose and wyes with unwashed hands;
Don't get in contact with sick people;
Wear a mask if you have symptoms of flu.
Follow CDC guidelines if you've been to Italy during the past 14 days and feel sick with fever or cough or have difficulty breathing.
This is what the UK advices for traveling in Italy:
"British nationals remain able to depart Italy without restriction. Residents of other parts of Italy are permitted to leave the isolation areas to return home. Otherwise entry into and exit from these areas is forbidden without official permission on the grounds of strict necessity; the authorities have confirmed to us that this will be granted for reasons such as medical need or work requirements. Travelers should check flight details with airlines. Additional restrictions include the closure of museums, cultural institutions and the suspension of all public gatherings, social events including pubs, nightclubs and games halls. Religious ceremonies and funerals are suspended. Ski facilities in the affected mountain areas are closed. Restaurants and bars remain open from 06.00 to 18.00."
It hasn't been completely cleared what procedures the airports will maintain during the emergency. So far, each airline company has taken autonomous decisions in terms of cancellations and refund.
A lot of flights are being cancelled from the US to Europe as of late Wednesday, March 11 - you can check an updating list of those flights here. Some flights may be eligible for refunds.
U.S. Embassy: https://it.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
Ministero della Salute: http://www.salute.gov.it/nuovocoronavirus
Protezione Civile (English newsfeed): http://www.protezionecivile.gov.it/home
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Prontopia is an online service that provides friendly, in-person help from pre-vetted local assistants in city centers in Italy, Spain and the U.S.