Coronavirus in Italy, the guide to prevention


How to avoid contagion; Coronavirus symptoms; useful numbers to call for info; where to download the official form for movements and how restrictions operate throughout the country

Italy is one of the countries worst affected by Coronavirus. Intensive care units in many hospitals are overwhelmed: doctors and other medical staff are working non-stop, above all in Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont. Over the last few weeks, the government, together with the main healthcare organisations, has issued a series of recommendations to try to curb the emergency. Here is a short guide to what you can do to stop the spread of the virus.

What you should know about Coronavirus

The Italian Ministry for Health has opened an on-line portal dedicated to Coronavirus to keep the public informed and updated.

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are: high temperature; cough; breathing difficulties.
  • In more serious cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), kidney failure and in the most serious cases, even death.
  • Coronavirus mainly spreads through close contact with an infected person. For example, it can be transmitted via saliva, coughing and sneezing, or even by touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands. In rare cases, the virus can be transmitted through faecal contamination.
  • The only way to confirm a case of COVID-19 is by laboratory test.

What to do if you have symptoms

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you must stay at home. Do not go to a hospital emergency department. First of all, contact your local GP's surgery. If you do not have a GP, you can call 1500, a public information number valid for the whole of Italy. Free telephone lines for the individual regions are also available to the general public:

Basilicata: 800 99 66 88
Calabria: 800 76 76 76
Campania: 800 90 96 99
Emilia-Romagna: 800 033 033
Friuli Venezia Giulia: 800 500 300
Lazio: 800 11 88 00
Lombardy: 800 89 45 45
Marche: 800 93 66 77
Piedmont: 800 19 20 20 (24 hours), 800 333 444 (Mon-Fri 8 am-8 pm)
Autonomous Province of Trento: 800 867 388
Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano: 800 751 751
Apulia: 800 713 931
Sardinia: 800 311 377
Sicily: 800 45 87 87
Tuscany: 800 55 60 60
Umbria: 800 63 63 63
Val d’Aosta: 800 122 121
Veneto: 800 462 340.

How to avoid catching and spreading Coronavirus

We do not yet have a vaccine for Coronavirus. Both the Ministry for Health and other health authorities recommend that you take the following precautions to protect yourself:

  • wash your hands frequently;
  • avoid close contact with people, especially if they are coughing, sneezing or have a high temperature; stay at home as much as possible;
  • avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with your hands;
  • no to hugs and handshakes. Stay at least one metre (3 feet) away from other people. WHO guidelines only recommend masks for those who are coughing and sneezing (suspected Coronavirus symptoms).

What to do and what not to do

After closing schools and universities, Prime Minister Conte ordered the shut-down of all shops and restaurants, except supermarkets, petrol stations and tobacconists. The Italian government extended the restrictions on movement throughout Italy. Movement is only possible in three cases (all restrictions and updates here):

  • for work;
  • for health reasons;
  • for necessity

For example, people can leave their homes to:

  • purchase food and other necessities, such as medicines;
  • care for elderly relatives who are unable to care for themselves.

When moving, you must carry a self-declaration form (download). The self-declaration must be presented to the police if you are stopped. The form can also be completed on the spot if you are stopped. For all restrictions and updates click below.

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