I've been of course talking with several of my local contacts on the ground in Italy.
They all have assured me that everything in Italy is normal as always, and that people/media outside of Italy are blowing this up, way way more than is actual in Italy. This is not the plague, la dolce vita is alive and well in Italy.
People are throwing coins in the Trevi Fountain, touring the Vatican, Climbing the Duomo of Florence, riding trains throughout the country, sightseeing operations are in full operation to just about every major tourist desired destination in the country.
Above is an official sourced map from the Ministry of Affairs of Italia. While this is in Italian I'll lay it out for you.
- Zona Rossa (Red Zone) - Do Not Travel (You can't really get to these places anyways they are mostly inaccessible to the outside, and people living within these areas are mostly under self quarantine.
- Zona Arancione (Orange Zone) - Only Travel if Necessary. (Meaning if you can please try to avoid these areas, in effort to not spread the virus beyond the quarantined zone)
- Zona Gialla (Yellow Zone) - Pay attention, be safe. (Meaning: Wash Your Hands, don't be around someone who seems sick).
- Zona Verde (Green Zone) - No Risk at all
The below letter was sent to me by one of my associates in the country.
It’s time to write something about the infamous Corona Virus.
In the era of "social media” and of on occasion a somewhat “childish” society, this event is really interesting to observe. Unfortunately, all of us are involved because it impacts on our safety, it’s our business, which for most of us, is also our greatest passion.
Like many of you, I am sincerely concerned about the COVID-19 or Coronavirus.
But, I want to list some interesting points, that can help to adopt a mature view of the situation.
How dangerous is it?
For sure it's dangerous, but let’s not get carried away.
"Normal" Seasonal flu kills more than 500,000 people per year in the entire world. In Italy, this is about 8000 per year.
The Corona Virus adapts in transit and the type arrived in Europe is also less potent than the Chinese one. Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, a general feeling of unease. Very rarely and only for people with weaker immune systems, it can cause difficulty breathing and pneumonia.
Why do we have more cases in Italy?
Italy is not the country in Europe most connected to China, so the fact that in Italy there are apparently more cases seems strange.
The Italian National Health System, among the most efficient in the world, immediately implemented procedures directed at safeguarding citizens and tourists. Intense controls made it possible for the Italian Government to monitor and contain the spreading of Covid-19 from the earliest diffusion outside the Chinese borders.
Italian National Health System decided to also do tests on people without symptoms, and this is the only case of this happening in the world.
People “asymptomatic” do not develop the disease but have been in touch with the virus. This is very normal, all of us may be positive to a virus and we never know it in our entire life.
Italy has done more tests than any other country in the world, after China.
20.000 tests in Italy vs 400 tests in Germany and 500 tests in the USA ( see the news in the New Yorker)
The impact of Media and the ridiculous conduct of Italian Politicians
We pay respect to the media and to the freedom of the press.
But we perfectly know that the media adore breaking news to attract an audience and boost viewing figures. Frankly, this is exaggerated in the case of Italy.
And also the Italian politicians, always fighting for the spotlight, just to get an interview, 15 seconds of celebrity status, an article in a paper, have taken advantage of the outbreak of the Corona Virus. The media are begging for new outbreaks of news, declarations are pounced upon and the politicians pander to the media to gain the spotlight
Is Italy a safe country?
The adoption of extraordinary preventative actions, such as the temporary closure of several sites or the suspension of several events, represents precautionary measures which have nothing to do with the spreading of the virus throughout the Italian territory.
In accordance with the data provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to date, only 0.05% of Italy is affected by extraordinary measures of temporary isolation of some Italian cities (equal to 0.1% of the total) aimed at avoiding the spread of the virus.
In which cities are there special preventative measures?
Only 12 small cities out of 7904 Italian cities are affected by such measures:
Lombardy: Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglione D'Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fiorano, Somaglia, Terranova dei Passerini.
Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo.
The remainder of the country, including the Italian regions where the cities in temporary isolation are located, is safe and accessible. All services and activities for citizens and tourists are provided as normal and the quality of life, for which Italy is famous world-wide, remains high.
The Italian Paradox: a country with strong prevention seen as more dangerous.
Strange to say, because we have conducted tests extensively, we can say that our measurements are accurate and the territory is safe.
Where to find additional “true” information?
Please consult the following links:
Luxury Travel Advisor
Avenue Two Travel