For more than a month, Italians had heard of the ‘Corona Virus’ in China, having seen the stories on the news about how the Chinese Government was handling the epidemic. This news seemed like something that was from a far off land that could never hit the Italian peninsula because it was the kind of situation that only happened to ‘others’, quite a normal response, much like many other populations responded. antilichamen corona test Thus, people were slow to put any emergency plans into place. At one point in early January, it was suggested that an Italian manager come up with an emergency plan, but this had not been the first time this manager had been advised that establishing rules to protect people from the normal flu was in order. However, one had to think positively rather than to living in fear of the Corona Virus, which was considered ‘unlikely’ to spread beyond China.
People from all backgrounds, not just Italians, tend to be more favourable of looking at life from a positive point of view; however, planning for the best is sometimes the equivalent of kicking the bucket down the road to someone else. Politicians are now trying to find a solution to help small businesses that are facing difficulties during this trying period, and money is being allocated to help families with children who need to keep a mother or father at home to watch the children whose schools have recently been closed. On the surface, these seem to be the best solutions to problems facing the country, but the long-term effects could potentially bury the nation in outstanding debt, causing difficulties for future generations.
Not only have hugs, kisses, and handshakes been banned. Soccer games open to fans have also been banned for thirty days by the decreet of Giuseppe Conte, the Prime Minister of Italy. This has saddened the majority of Italians, although many argue that even soccer players should have the right to keep their distance from one another. Furthermore, all sports’ events must be held behind closed doors until the third of April, something that remains incredible in the country known for kisses on the cheeks.
COVID-19 has interfered dramatically with the practice of religion, especially the Catholic religion, during February and March 2020. Yesterday, the author visited the Church of Santo Stefano in Borgomanero, where custodians had just cleaned the floors and disinfected the church. Not a living soul was to be found, neither a priest nor a tourist, which allowed the author to focus on the frescoes and the beautiful stained-glass windows in silence. If one travels across Italy this month, he or she will encounter numerous churches without parishioners because people are naturally afraid to meet one another in closed spaces no matter how large and accommodating they might be. It has been recommended that priests remove the holy water from Catholic Churches for fear of spreading the virus. Although citizens and tourists can visit holy shrines, church services have to be conducted via television and internet. Furthermore, churches have been closed because, in recent years, people have begun to steal religious artefacts from them when the churches and shrines are not guarded.
The author has been researching what is happening in the churches throughout Italy; however, there is much more information available about soccer games and the survival of the economy, which seems to be the main focus right now. For instance, in the news one finds much information about saving the reputation of ‘Made in Italy’, so low-level employees are forced to work even harder than before as they hope other countries will continue to demand their products in times of trouble. A company which had had to quit producing medical face masks for fifteen years (due to Chinese competition), suddenly had to reopen its doors to help meet the needs of the Italian population that did not have enough masks to protect citizens from COVID-19.
Not having enough masks was ironic in a country known for its Venetian Carnival celebration. Sadly, Venetian Carnival parades had to be cancelled this year for fear of contagion, causing the country to lose many tourist dollars and initiating the current crisis in Italian tourism. According to Assoturismo, ninety per cent of hotel bookings in Rome have been cancelled, and the United States has issued a level-3 warning to its citizens, stating that they should avoid travel to Italy in March. Travelers who visit Italy are required to stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States. A well-known leader of the Five Star Party was worried that such travel restrictions might lead to discrimination against Italians and ‘Made in Italy’. Many members of La Lega believe in a bailout amounting to 50 billion euros.
Citizens who used to hate watching the news because they generally detest politics are now glued to the TV to see what will happen next, whether or not they should stock up on food and masks, whether or not they will go to work, and who will help them get over the crisis.
On a positive note, unlike most Americans who have to worry about paying much money to be treated for the Corona Virus, Italians know they will not take on a load of personal debt to pay for initial testing and further cures. The Sistema Sanitario Nazionale aims to heal all Italian citizens as well as those who have the appropriate visa to be in the country. Notwithstanding these good intentions, there is the likelihood that the health system will become overburdoned with too many patients to care for during the crisis. For example, in a message written at 12:30 on the third of March, the Piemonte Region announced that simple surgical procedures that utilize the operating rooms have had to be suspended (if they are not urgent procedures) in order to assure that the diffusion of the virus is contained.
On the fourth of March, the Government decreed that all schools and universities would be closed for a month until the fifteenth of March although they are allowed to give lessons online when possible with the goal of stopping the spread of the virus or at least slowing down its spread. Until now, most Italians have been suspicious of online education; therefore, most teachers have not had training in how to convert to the online platform; nor have most students been prepared for this new learning curve. Fortunately, this experience will change the Italian mindset, so that everyone will learn to utilize the internet for learning, telecommuting, and flexitime.