Please note: This is an ever-evolving story due to the dynamic nature of contagion. All data was correct at the time it was published. Periodic updates will be posted as footnotes to this post.
Let me start by saying, as of today there have been zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Liguria (the region in which the five Cinque Terre villages are located). Because we neighbor regions where there have been confirmed cases, our regional government has enacted special precautions which include closing schools and public venues as well as canceling sporting events until March 1, 2020. On that date the situation will be reevaluated and the ordinance will either be lifted or extended.
The Italian government is taking the coronavirus seriously and they have implemented measures to isolate the outbreak. A coordinated response has also been enacted to quell alarm and the dissemination of fake news.
Despite media hype, the coronavirus is considered only slightly more dangerous than the average flu and mortality rates confirm that. The most challenging aspect of the coronavirus from a logistical standpoint is its rapid transmission.
There are currently 283 confirmed cases in Italy, with the majority in the regions of Lombardy (206 cases) and Veneto (38 cases). Overall, infection rates continue to be very low in Italy, which has a population of 60.48 million people.
What can you do to limit the spread of the coronavirus?
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid contact with people who have respiratory illnesses
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
- Do not take antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor
- Clean surfaces with disinfectants
- Wear a face mask ONLY if you think you are sick or assisting the sick
- In Italy: Call 112 if you have fever, cough or respiratory difficulties, especially if you have recently been to China or you have traveled to identified areas of contagion
Most importantly, keep calm and don’t panic. It’s currently life as usual in the Cinque Terre, with some extra hand washing thrown in the mix.
UPDATE (25 February 2020, 15:15)
Less than an hour after publishing this post it was made public that a woman in Alassio, Liguria (the westernmost portion of our region, the Cinque Terre is located on the eastern border with Tuscany) tested positive to the coronavirus. She has been hospitalized and is listed as being in good condition.