Italy faces the biggest outbreak of coronavirus outside Asia. Coronavirus made its entry a few weeks ago in northern Italy, and now the confusion, economic engine, and fear have spread throughout the country.
As of 13 March 2020, the number of infected and deaths was 151,113 and 1016 has died from COVID-19 (link to WHO situation report). China has the highest death toll, and Italy is in second place. However, Italy has the highest new cases reported, even more than China, leading to a ban by the USA.
Below is a timelapse video of the Piazza courtesy of Skyline.
The virus is spreading quickly since the Vatican announced its first coronavirus patient. As far as coronavirus in Rome is concerned, over 46 people have tested positive.
The impact of Coronavirus to Rome isn't the affected people
The biggest impact isn't the illness but the impact on tourism. Walking in the streets of Rome looks like you are walking in the ghost town. The government has suspended the public gathering, which means that soccer matches will be held in empty stadiums.
This emergency is hurting Rome badly. Tourism in Italy has been poorly affected due to the virus. According to a representative of the tourist industry, Italy will face a loss of almost 8 billion dollars in just a month of May. Rome is the biggest victim of this loss. During the weekend night, two people visit the famous tourist attraction point and see that it’s quiet, and no one is sitting around the boat-shaped fountain. No visitors were found in these tourist attraction points.
Effects of Coronavirus on Rome
It’s not just about Rome; the entire nation is suffering from this disease. High ends Fashion Street, Via Condotti has no visitors and it is empty. Art lovers who want to see masterpieces of Caravaggio have found that the church is closed and you can’t see the art. A 43 years old French priest has tested positive after he returned to Paris from Rome in February.
Piazzas and artistic monuments in Rome are empty. Lots of shopkeepers and restaurant staff who were planning to go abroad have canceled their plans. An American student Nicholas Blanco who has been studying at John Cabot University said that he would go back to New Jersey on the next flight. He further said that he is not worried about the virus; he is concerned if they closed the border, and it would be difficult for me to go home for at least a year or more than that.
Most of the pharmacies in Rome are out of the masks and sanitizer gels. Roberto Antonioni, a pharmacist in Rome, says that most of his customers are excessively worried about the coronavirus. Without any doubt, the corona is an aggressive type of virus, but people need to relax. He further said that higher authorities are creating more confusion and panic. First, they said there is no need to worry, and then they gave a statement that was a contradiction of the previous message and results in creating a situation of panic.
Suppliers of the best restaurants in Rome are worried about work. They are saying that they have no work except a few home delivery orders. One of the famous five-star hotels in Rome ordered only 11 pounds of potatoes in the last two days. Countries are not willing to buy Italian products, and they are considering Italy as a disease carrier. Zampa said all these things.
Trevi fountain is another top tourist attraction place in Rome, and no of people visits drop from 1200 to 100 people per hour after coronavirus. Now the people count is less than 100 who through their coins into the famous fountain. Vatican Museum usually contains a line of more than a half kilometer, and once the country has ordered to keep a distance of 3 feet, no one was found in the queue. Colosseum is another popular place in Rome, and almost 7 million people visit this place each year, and city officials have set the system of orderly lines. After coronavirus, no one was waiting in the line except a few who are from Rome.
Efforts by Italy Government
Prime minister signed the decree that the people of 14 provinces can only leave their homes in case of professional reasons or urgent health. Affected areas in Italy include 16 major cities. According to the decree, people who are either tourists or residents when they try to leave Lombardy will pay massive fines. It is because Lombardy is the most affected area.
In this region, all the public events have been canceled, and the school closure date is extended until 3rd April. All the entertainment venues such as cinemas and theaters have been advised to shut down their activities. They took these actions when the situation was getting out of control.
Italy has, by far, carried out more tests for coronavirus. This number is most by any European country. Italy’s health authorities have warned people to stay at least 3 feet apart from each other and refrain from exchanging kisses at cheeks.
Rome has almost 900 churches and the authorities have given specific directions to keep holy water vessels empty. Prevent the worshippers from dipping their fingers into the water. The government announced a support package of 7.5 billion Euros and also 900 million Euros for those families who are affected by the virus.
Emergency Situation in Rome, Italy
As the disease is spreading quickly, the government has extended the school and universities shut down in the entire nation. It’s an alarming sign for the families. Italian media reports that almost 1 million teachers, professors, and staff, along with 10 million students, will stay at home for at least two weeks.
Massimo Cacciari has asked for the clarification. "He wants someone to explain the logic why offices are open, and schools are closed? He wants a scientific explanation, why the safety measures and restrictions are more in schools than offices."
Some Italian politicians are spreading conspiracy theories. Lauca Zia said in a "TV interview that it is due to the cultural fact that’s why China is paying a big price for eating mice and things like that. After too much criticism on his statement, he apologized to the ambassador of China."