CIEE Health Alert - Italy

Sun, 02/23/2020

CIEE has no reports of any participants or staff contracting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to date in any country.  CIEE Staff in both Ferrara and Rome continue to follow the latest developments and government restrictions in Italy. CIEE participants in Italy are being advised to strictly adhere to all directives issued and mitigation measures introduced by the national and local governments.

Italian authorities have effectively placed approximately a dozen towns in the regions of Lombardy and Veneto (whose capitals are the cities of Milan and Venice respectively) under quarantine after they announced an emergency plan late on Saturday, 22 February to attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 in the regions. The restrictions come after the number of confirmed cases in Italy quickly rose to 79, with two deaths reported in Veneto. 54 of the reported cases have been in Lombardy and 17 in Veneto, with the other five outside the two main outbreak areas.

As of Sunday, 23 February, at least 152 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 3 individuals have died in Italy. Lombardy has 110 of the positive cases. While the local authorities are working to track down the first carrier of the virus in the country, as noted above, several strict emergency measures were put in place which included the closure of public buildings, limited transport, and the surveillance and quarantine of individuals who may have been exposed to the virus. The Prime Minister announced that it would be forbidden to enter or leave the impacted areas without special permission, and those who disobeyed the restrictions will reportedly be prosecuted. Also on Sunday, Italian authorities announced that the Venice Carnival celebrations would be halted.

Just outside the impacted zones, many businesses and schools have suspended activities as well. Although no cases have been reported in Ferrara, which borders the impacted areas, the governor of Emilia-Romagna has ordered for all schools and universities in the region to be closed until March 1. CIEE Ferrara staff have informed participants that CIEE classes would be suspended as well following the request of the local authorities. Participants have been asked to avoid traveling to the impacted areas listed above.

CIEE staff in Ferrara will continue to have  close and  regular  communication with students about their well-being and will  keep them apprised  of  safety or academic  updates. Participants who have additional questions or concerns  should contact their local CIEE staff for the best and swiftest support.  Parents and Guardians with concerns are best assisted by contacting their participants directly, who are receiving more frequent updates from our local teams as the situation evolves. Partner institutions will be updated further regarding program and academic updates by our Southern Europe regional team.

All CIEE participants worldwide are advised to continue to closely monitor the latest developments, as the situation remains fluid.  All CIEE Participants are also advised to adhere to all national and international public health directives and those exhibiting symptoms of the virus are advised to seek medical attention immediately.