Coronavirus in Italy: more kisses and handshakes, camera behind closed doors in football

ROME – The Italian government is due to adopt new measures on Wednesday to stem the coronavirus, recommending a safe distance between people, avoiding handshakes and kisses, and planning to play football matches behind closed doors, media.
Italy is the third country most affected in the world by this epidemic of viral pneumonia, after China and South Korea: 79 infected people have died in the country, which has a total of 2,502 cases, according to a count published Tuesday.

These measures, valid for one month, should this time cover the entire national territory, and no longer a limited area in the north of the country, where most of the cases are concentrated.

Lombardy (the Milan region), Emilia-Romagna and Veneto (around Venice) are the three regions most affected. The 21 Italian regions have identified cases of contagion, with the exception of Valle D’Aosta, which borders France.

The decree prepared by the government, which began to meet in the Council of Ministers at the end of the morning with a view to its adoption, also plans to avoid gatherings and crowds as much as possible, which is why all football matches should take place in camera. The public will also not have access to team training.

The measures affecting football, adopted for one month, may be revised after two weeks.

Trade fairs, conferences and congresses will be postponed, in particular in the health sector in order to free up health personnel as much as possible.

While schools and universities are already closed in the north of the peninsula, the government would also consider, according to ministerial sources cited by the Ansa agency, the closure of all Italian schools, even if “no decision has yet been taken ”at the moment.

All people over the age of 75 are advised to stay at home and not go to public places. This advice is extended to people over 65 with pathologies likely to worsen on contact with the coronavirus.

The main Italian fatal cases were elderly people – on average octogenarians and nonagenarians – or suffering from previous pathologies, according to the Civil Protection.

In addition to the safety distance of one meter to be respected between people, it is recommended to “sneeze and cough in a handkerchief avoiding hand contact with respiratory secretions” and “to avoid the exchange of bottles and glasses, especially during sports ”.

Eleven municipalities in the north of the country have so far been placed in the “red zone”, under quarantine. It was there that the main focus of the Italian epidemic was identified, in Codogno, 60 km south of Milan.

Italy has so far carried out 25,856 tests on people who may have been infected, one of the highest number of exams in Europe.

The Italian economy, already anemic, is affected by the epidemic, in particular the tourism sector which represents 13% of the GDP. The professional association Confturismo-Confcommercio (tourism and trade) thus forecasts 31.6 million fewer tourists for the period from March 1 to May 31, representing a loss of 7.4 billion euros.

“The worst virus is hysteria, because of which we (the Italians, editor’s note) are considered to be vectors of contagion,” commented the president of Confturismo-Confcommercio, Luca Patanè.

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