- The Premier Italian American Newspaper Since 1931 -

Lockdown Fact List

Even tougher lockdown measures were instituted in Italy last week. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that all non-essential shops should close as part of the effort to contain the coronavirus. The measures were essentially an update to the previous decree that became effective on March 9th, in which the government extended restrictions to the entire nation of over 60 million people. Pharmacies, supermarkets and stores selling food and other essential items, including hardware shops, are still allowed to open.

In addition, public transportation, banks, gas stations, mechanics, newsstands, plumbers, dry cleaners, laundromats and funeral homes are permitted to operate. The new measures extend closures to cafés, bars and restaurants that had previously been permitted to remain open until 6:00 pm; however, home delivery of goods and restaurant meals are still permitted. In all cases of businesses remaining open, patrons must respect a one-meter (3.2 feet) distance between people. The government is promoting the measures with the hashtag #IoRestoaCasa (I’m Staying Home) and is telling people to avoid all unnecessary travel except for essential work, health reasons and to buy provisions.

All gatherings in public places are still banned as are sporting events. Schools and universities remain closed through April 3. Certain activities are not subject to the restriction, such as exercising outdoors while maintaining the recommended safety distance and walking your dog. No limitations have been set for the transportation of goods. Workers have been advised to work from home, if possible, take time off or take parental leave. Public offices remained open with administrative activities continuing regularly, although nearly all services are accessible online. There is a complete ban on travel for people under quarantine or who have tested positive for the virus. To be on the safe side, anyone with a fever over 37.5°C (99.5°F) have been strongly advised to stay home, call their doctor and avoid contacts with other people.

Economic Plan Unveiled

The Italian government has unveiled a 25-billion-euro rescue plan designed to shield families and businesses from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (pictured) announced that, “To cope with this great emergency, we will release around 25 billion euros for the benefit of the Italian economic system.” As part of the “Italy Cure” rescue plan, €10 billion will be allocated to support employment and workers and another €3.5 billion to help the healthcare system. Families can apply for permission to suspend their mortgage payments and self-employed workers can apply for a special payout of €600 in March. The Italian rescue plan also provides an injection of liquidity into the credit system that can mobilize around 340 billion euros in loans to the economy.

King Tut Exhibit Opens Momentarily

Even as events across Italy were cancelled, two exhibitions related to ancient Egypt still opened in Milan. “Journey Beyond the Darkness: Tutankhamon Real Experience” opened at Milan’s Palazzo Reale and “Under the Sky of Nut: Divine Egypt” at the Milan Archaeological Museum. Open for only one day before Milan gatherings were restricted, almost no one bothered to attend. Rescheduled opening for the exhibition has not been announced.

Your Order Must Wait

Individuals who place orders for Ferrari automobiles often have to wait for up to one-year to receive delivery of the vehicles. That time period is likely to increase now that the famed automaker has ceased operations while Italy battles the coronavirus. Located in the Emilia Romagna, an area hard hit by the virus, Ferrari announced that it has suspended operations of its manufacturing facilities in Maranello and nearby Modena, due to supply chain disruptions. Meanwhile, members of the Formula One team are self-quarantined following a return from Australia, where the opening race of the season was cancelled only minutes before the first practice session was set to begin. Formula One later cancelled additional races. The season will now begin in May at the earliest.

New Therapy Tried

Authorities and science are doing everything possible to make progress in combating the coronavirus. Now a drug that is used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, Tocilizumab, is being used on COVID-19 and with some encouraging results. A medical team in Naples has been experimenting with this drug to fight the virus. A collaboration between the Colli Hospital and the Cancer Institute of Naples verified that Tocilizumab can give positive results in the care of people already infected. Two patients from Naples immediately responded to the drug who were hospitalized at Cotugno Hospital in Naples, suffering from severe Covid-19 pneumonia. Twenty-four hours after the infusion, encouraging improvements were highlighted, especially in one of the two patients, who arrived at the hospital as a particularly critical case. Based on this experiment it is currently being evaluated to treat other critically ill patients. The result was made possible thanks to a great team effort, including the Oncology of the Azienda dei Colli by Vincenzo Montesarchio and the Oncological Immunotherapy and Innovative Therapies of Pascale by Paolo Ascierto, together with the virologist Franco Buonaguro.

Free Beer

In Parma, a bar decided to give out free beer rather than see it go bad due to the coronavirus emergency that has emptied out the establishment. “It’s free for all who come for lunch and anyone who comes before the six o’clock closure deadline,” said the bar owner.