News Alerts

22 Feb 2020 | 12:50 AM UTC

Italy: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak spreads in northern Italy February 21 /update 3

Italy News Alert

Officials in Lombardy region implement restrictions in several towns as coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increase on February 21; further spread of the disease likely

TIMEFRAME expected from 2/21/2020, 12:00 AM until 3/31/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/Rome). COUNTRY/REGION Italy

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Event

Health officials in Lombardy and Veneto regions reported 14 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Friday, February 21, bringing the total number of cases in Italy to 20. Several towns around Lodi (Lombardy region) closed schools, public buildings, restaurants, and cafes in an effort to prevent further spread of the disease. Health officials have ordered anyone who has come into direct contact with people who tested positive for coronavirus to be quarantined for 14 days. Additional restrictive measures may be implemented over the coming days if the outbreak continues to spread.

Travel restrictions between Italy and China remain in place as of Friday. All direct air traffic between the two countries has been suspended and thermal screenings are being conducted at all ports of entry.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 31 countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Individuals in the affected regions are advised to monitor developments to the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.

 

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