Healthcare workers transfer a COVID-19 patient to a biocontainment stretcher in the Covid emergency room of the San Filippo Neri Hospital during lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on October 29, 2020 in Rome, Italy.
Antonio Masiello | Getty Images
Italy became Europe’s first coronavirus hotspot earlier this year after cases occurred in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto in February.
It imposed the first lockdown outside of China after the virus spread across the country and across the continent.
In the summer, as elsewhere, there was a lull in infections in Italy before a second wave of coronavirus infections set in.
Now the daily number of infections remains high and a record number of daily deaths were reported last week. Here is a snapshot of the current developments in Italy.
What is the virus situation like?
Italy currently has the second highest number of coronavirus infections in Europe after France with 1,728,878 confirmed cases. This is based on data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 60,000 people have died of the disease in the country.
13,720 new Covid cases and 528 more deaths were recorded on Monday, with the numbers likely to be lower due to the delay over the weekend. It comes after 18,887 new cases on Sunday and 21,052 on Saturday. On Friday, 24,099 new infections were counted, as data from the Ministry of Health show – a number that points more to the current virus trend in Italy.
993 deaths were recorded last Thursday, surpassing an earlier record of 919 daily deaths during the first wave of the virus.
Italy’s health department, the Higher Health Institute, said Monday that nearly 40% of Italy’s 60,000 deaths have occurred in the hardest-hit region, Lombardy.
What about the vacation?
Last week the Italian government passed another package of tough restrictions, which are seen as a crucial way to avoid further hikes in certain cases.
This includes the ban on travel between Italian regions between December 21 and January 6, which means families across Italy cannot get together for Christmas unless they travel before the rules come into force.
Measures put online by the Italian Ministry of Health include a ban on leaving your hometown on Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day, December 26) and New Year’s Day.
The government has maintained the current curfew. People are not allowed out of their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. (and until 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day), except for work or health reasons. That rules out a midnight mass for millions of Catholics in Italy.
Italian tourists traveling abroad from December 21 to January 6 will have to undergo quarantine upon their return, the ministry said. Foreign tourists who come to Italy during the same period must also be quarantined.
As in other countries, Italy has applied a tiered system to differentiate parts of the country according to their risk profile, with different rules applying in these areas.
The areas with the highest risk are classified as “red zones” and are subject to the strictest restrictions. This is followed by “orange zones” with medium to high risk and increased restrictions, and yellow zones of medium risk with baseline restrictions.
Currently, the yellow area includes the regions: Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Molise, Trento, Apulia, Sardinia, Sicily, Umbria and Veneto.
The orange areas include: Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Lombardy, Piedmont, Bolzano, Tuscany and Aosta Valley.
The only red zone at the moment is the central region of Abruzzo. In a red area, only stores selling essential goods can remain open and restaurants and bars can only offer take-away service.
Red zone residents are not allowed to move around their own area (whether by public or private transport) unless there is a vital reason to do so. Anyone who has to leave the house for work, study, health or emergency reasons must fill out a form. In a red zone, visiting or meeting relatives or friends with whom you do not live together in an open or closed place is prohibited.
Bans and continued restrictions clearly affect some Italians more than others; A story about an Italian went viral after an argument with his wife who took a walk to cool off and ran 450 km after an argument with his wife. Italians called the man, who was fined 400 euros by the police for violating the curfew, “Forrest Gump” after the character who walks thousands of kilometers across America.