Over the weekend, Italy announced that they were planning to quarantine the northern region of Lombardy as they fought to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The government put measures in place, such as fines, to prevent people from entering and leaving the region until at least April 3rd. They also imposed a decree that banned all forms of public gatherings and events, such as, closing pubs, clubs, gyms, and urged residents to remain in their homes.
Today Italy announced that it is going to expand the lockdown of Lombardy to cover the entire country as there COVID-19 cases have grown exponentially with Italy now having the most cases outside of China. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has advised his citizens to only travel for work or emergencies and the best decision would be to just stay in their homes. The government has also banned any events or public gatherings nationwide. The country saw an increase in COVID-19 related deaths of 97, bringing the total to 463 and an increase of cases by 1,807 bringing the nation’s total confirmed cases to 9,172. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that in many countries it could get worse before it gets better. The coordinator for intensive care in the crisis unit (ICU) for the northern Lombardy’s health care system said, “we are now being forced to set up ICU treatment in hospital corridors.” Adding that there could be 18,000 patients in hospitals by the end of the month if the virus continues to spread.
The official count of cases in the US just passed 600, but the United States has not announced an official plan to combat COVID-19 or what they are going to do if there is a large outbreak here. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been warning people to avoid non-essential travel and large gatherings. Some cities have started to take matters into their own hands; Santa Clara County has decided to ban gatherings over 1,000 people following the first death in the Bay Area. Surely, more and more areas will follow suit as COVID-19 continues to spread.