Authorities in Lombardy region introduced stricter rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Saturday, October 17. The measures will be in effect until November 6 and include the prohibition of the consumption of food and drink in all public outdoor areas. Bars will only be able to serve customers at seated tables after 18:00 (local time) and must close at midnight. All amateur sporting events are suspended and schools have been encouraged to alternate between online and face-to-face lessons. The Campania region in southern Italy have also introduced tougher measures, including the closure of schools and bans on parties and funeral processions.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to announce tighter nationwide restrictions on Sunday, October 18. A state of emergency in Italy has been extended until January 31, 2021, and face masks are compulsory outdoors and in enclosed public spaces between 18:00 and 06:00. Travel restrictions remain in place, with arrivals permitted from some countries and restrictions vary based on the infection rates in these countries. A full list of restrictions can be found here.
As of Saturday, October 17, Health authorities in Italy have confirmed 402,536 COVID-19 cases, with 36,474 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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