Addressing COVID-19 Emergency in Italy Requires Chinese Methods
Feb. 25, 2020 (EIRNS)—With the discovery of COVID-19 hotbeds in the Lombardy and Veneto regions, Italy has become the country with the third largest infection in the world. As of Feb. 25, over 300 cases of COVID-19 have been ascertained, with 10 deaths, all of whom were elderly and had pre-existing illnesses.
The Italian government has called for an emergency meeting of EU Health Ministers to be held today in Rome to coordinate measures among the 27 EU member countries and to avoid hysteria spreading among the population. However, it has become clear that only Chinese methods will prevent the two Italian hotspots from becoming epidemic throughout the country.
The steps undertaken by the Italian government aim at implementing “social distance” as in China, limited to the two hotspots areas around Codogno, in Lombardy, and Vò, in Veneto, where about 50,000 citizens have been locked down, with police checkpoints; offices and supermarkets are closed, while at the same time food and medical supplies are guaranteed on an emergency basis. In those areas, mass-screening is taking place.
Aside from those two hotspots, many Italian regions have closed schools and in some cases, theaters, clubs, churches, museums and other public places. First Division soccer games have been either postponed or, as in Milan, will be played without a public audience in the stadium.
The emergency mobilization is under the leadership of the Civil Protection Corps, whose head has special powers nationwide.
So far, with minor exceptions, the population of northern Italy seem to follow guidelines with discipline. Not so disciplined is the political scene, where Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte launched an argument with Lombardy Regional President Attilio Fontana (Lega), accusing the regional authorities of initial shortcomings—in Italy the national health system is run by the regional administrations. Whereas experts do not exclude inadequacies or mistakes in the early treatment of patients, this is not the time for arguments but rather for all to pull their efforts together. If mistakes are made, they are analyzed and measures are taken to improve things.