Yesterday Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte effectively closed the country by expanding travel restriction and banning public gatherings throughout the nation. Strict rules for social distancing and quarantine have been in effect for select towns in Northern Italy for the past week but as the coronavirus continued to spread through the population constraints were expanded. Reading the front line reports from Italian health professionals in Lombardi give justification for taking extreme measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
The effort to quarantine 60 million people in a free Western democracy has never been attempted and the world is watching to see how Italians conform to these restrictions. Landmarks and tourist attractions across Italy have been closed and sporting events have been canceled in an effort to prevent casual contact between citizens. The economic impact of these policies will have long shadows and the psychological impact on the ever sociable Italians could be traumatic.
The example of Italy is a stark warning for Western Europe and the U.S.A. as to how bad the impact of the coronavirus can be. Many cultural event cancellations and work/school closings have been enacted over the past 48 hours in an effort to preemptively thwart casual infection and thereby mitigate more severe travel and quarantine policies in the future.
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