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Coronavirus in Italy – Situation Report

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Updated March 11th 2020

Italy is in the midst of a crisis with coronavirus (COVID-19), with over 12,000 cases as of March 11th 2020. JayWay staff on the ground in Rome and Venice are monitoring the situation for us daily and keeping us updated with the latest information available as well as the overall mood of their cities.

Testing more people finds more cases

It’s important to note that one of the reasons there are so many cases of COVID-19 in Italy is that the country’s national health service is testing a far higher percentage of people than almost any other country. If you test more people you will find more cases, particularly among those with minor symptoms. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking to do a thorough job of containing an outbreak. It certainly can look bad in terms of numbers of new cases every day, but for the long term it’s better to find infected people than ignore the problem.

Country-wide quarantine

On Saturday 7th March the Italian government took the drastic step of imposing a quarantine on two of the most populous regions of the country, Lombardia and Veneto, and several provinces of Emilia Romagna and Piemonte until April 3rd. On March 10th restriction of movement rules were expanded to cover the whole country, with travel between regions only allowed for emergencies or for work purposes. Almost all public spaces are closed to prevent more infection. Restaurants and bars are closed in the evenings. The full rules are below:

In the areas of: Lombardia (full region), Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro e Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Vercelli, Padova, Treviso, Venezia:

  • Access is strictly limited, no one gets in and no one gets out unless for emergencies and work needs. People who live outside these areas are allowed to go back home but will have to let their local doctor know they come from those areas and will have to be in quarantine for at least 2 weeks
  • All events and sport competitions are suspended
  • Whenever possible, all employers must promote smart working and/or provide periods of holidays or special permits to work from home
  • All ski facilities are closed
  • All cultural, sport, religious and any kind of event is suspended, including cinemas, museums, theaters, pub, dance clubs, discos etc are closed
  • All churches are closed and any kind of celebration is suspended (including funerals and weddings)
  • All museums and sights are closed
  • Bars and restaurants closed
  • Only food stores and pharmacies are to be open
  • All malls and shops are closed on the weekends
  • All gyms, spas, cultural centers etc are closed

In the rest of the country the rules are only a little less severe:

  • No travel to other countries, or outside their region of Italy, for Italian citizens
  • All congresses, conferences, meetings and social events are suspended
  • All events, demonstrations, strikes are suspended
  • All cultural events and shows are suspended
  • All cinemas, theaters, pubs, dance schools, discos are closed
  • All museums and all cultural places and sights are closed
  • All bars and restaurants closed
  • All sports events, matches and competitions are suspended
  • Only food stores and pharmacies are to be open.
  • Whenever possible, all employers must provide an option for smart working or to work from home
  • In general, avoid the use of public transports, avoid public places where there can be crowds,  go out only if really necessary and avoid social contacts as much as possible

Pain now for a quicker recovery

The Italian government didn’t take this decision lightly. They are working hard to contain the situation and this regional quarantine represents a drastic measure that is designed to bring about a quicker end to the spread of coronavirus.

If you have a trip planned to Italy with us here’s what you need to know

We want to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable when you travel and would never insist that you endanger your health.

Airfare first

Your first call should be to your airline to determine their policies on rescheduling or re-routing flights. The US State Dept has issued a ‘Reconsider Travel’ warning for the whole country and while that remains in effect your airline should allow you to reschedule your flights, according to their policies and timeframes. Some airlines have set longer affected flights and rebooking windows than others.

Traveling up to April 3rd

Due to closures to venues crucial to your enjoyment of visiting Italy, we will reschedule your trip for you or provide an alternate itinerary to any of our other destinations in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, any time within a year of your original trip dates and transfer any money paid to that new trip, minus any non-refundable services purchased on your behalf. Please note that the price of the replacement trip may be different.

Traveling after April 3rd, until end of May

As the situation is changing daily, we believe it is best to assess it at 45-30 days out so you can make the right decision for you. If the situation has improved you can choose keep your original trop plan, to defer to a later date any time within a year of your original trip dates or have us re-arrange your trip to visit different destinations we cover in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, we will transfer any money paid to that new trip, minus any non-refundable services purchased on your behalf. Please note that the price of the replacement trip may be different.

Traveling from June onwards

It is still far too early to ascertain what the situation will be like in 3-4 months. We will keep you updated if there’s anything to be concerned with. For the time being you should continue to look forward to an amazing Italian vacation.

Considering booking a trip to Italy with us?

The same conditions as detailed above apply. Most of all we want you to have a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Should it become necessary to delay or rearrange your trip, we are happy to do so, based on the situation at the time.

What precautions should I take if I’m visiting Italy?

The recommendations of the government and of the Italy’s National Health Institute are the same as with flu:

  • Wash your hands properly after touching any common surfaces
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow or a tissue and throw it away immediately after
  • Stay 1.5/2 yards away from people who show symptoms
  • Wear a face mask mask ONLY if you have contact with sick people and/or you are sick

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