Italy has been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than almost any other country, experiencing catastrophic death tolls and economic devastation from the nationwide lockdown.
Hoping to prevent COVID-19 from doing even more damage, the Italian government decided to extend its current lockdown by an additional three weeks to May 3.
Thankfully, Italy has seen a slowing down of the spread of the virus, but the nation’s leaders are not comfortable lifting strict stay-at-home orders that have resulted in hundreds of fines for citizens leaving their homes for reasons the nation’s law enforcement deems non-essential.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stated, “At the moment we are not in a position to reopen production activities since we would risk rebooting the contagion curve and frustrate the results we have obtained with the measures implemented by the government.”
Much of Italy’s outbreak was concentrated in the northern region of Lombardy. Italy’s crisis has been slowly leveling off since the peak on March 27, but the nation identified over 4,000 new cases on Thursday, signaling that the descent will be very gradual.
Breitbart noted that “In Italy’s south, the pandemic has had minimal effect on people’s health but a major impact on their livelihoods. Ten days ago, reports were already circulating of people running out of food and money in the southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily, and Puglia.”
Much as we expect to see here in the United States, Italy is planning a very slow and cautious opening process to ensure that the dreaded “second wave” doesn’t overtake the country.
Local Italian media outlets have reported that businesses will be prioritized at first to ensure the reopening is not rushed and people are not necessarily exposed.
Among the first businesses expected to reopen are manufacturing firms, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.
Italy has to be very careful because the country is not testing nearly to the extent that it is being done here in the United States. This is probably because, for the most part, the infections have been concentrated in the Lombardy area.
Just as we are worried about here in the states, though, the Italian government is very concerned that the virus does not spread past its epicenter for fear of much larger numbers nationwide.
Currently, Italy has more than 147,000 confirmed cases and slightly less than 19,000 deaths, more than 50 percent of which have come from Lombardy.