Coronavirus in Italy: Timeline of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy 2020

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Update, 22 December 2020

“As winter begins, Italy is back where it was in March: the worst-hit place in Europe,” writes Margherita Stancati for the Wall Street Journal. There have been a total of 69,214 deaths in Italy since the pandemic began in late February.

Italy is again under a travel lockdown through the Christmas holidays. As of 21 December, a ban on travel between Italy’s regions went into effect. “Italy will be a ‘red zone’ for all but four working days for almost two weeks over the festive period, starting from Christmas Eve,” explains ANSA. “This means non-essential shops, bars and restaurants will be closed and people will need to have a good reason to be outside their homes.”

The Local also breaks down what Italians can and can’t do over the Christmas holidays due to the coronavirus crisis. The rules will last through 6 January, traditionally the last day of Italy’s Christmas season.

Distribution of the Pfizer vaccine in Italy is scheduled to start on December 27.

Update, 16 October 2020

I stopped updating this COVID-19 timeline at the end of April when it seemed that Italy had finally escaped the worst of it. In the ensuing months, Italy moved to Phase II of quarantine, residents enjoyed their summers, and some travelers were welcomed back in again.

While Italy has fared relatively well over late spring and summer, the country has seen a second surge this fall. On 15 October, Italy reported 8,804 new cases of coronavirus — the largest daily increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Indeed, there has been more testing, including rapid testing in airports and schools. On the same day, Italy reported 83 new coronavirus deaths, the largest daily increase since June.

The uptick in cases has many speculating that Italy or parts of Italy will go into quarantine again. The government has extended the state of emergency until January 31, 2021. Here’s what that means. There is also a national mask mandate which applies for both indoors and outdoors. Health experts are also suggesting that Italy may face a lockdown at Christmas if the virus isn’t contained soon.

Update, 26 April 2020

On Sunday evening, 26 April, PM Giuseppe Conte addressed the nation with information on Phase II (Fase II) of the lockdown. Video follows below.

Phase II will be a series of re-openings for businesses. Conte added that schools in Italy will not reopen until September. Per The Local Italy, here is what will come next.

From 4 May, residents will be able to:

  • Move/travel within their respective regions but not beyond
  • Visit family members (social gatherings not allowed)
  • Exercise privately outdoors (e.g., running)
  • Go to parks
  • Attend funerals (15 people allowed, maximum)
  • Order food from bars/restaurants, for take-away only

Manufacturing, construction and wholesale businesses will be allowed to restart on 4 May.

From 18 May, residents will be able to do the following things, provided that there isn’t a spike during the initial part of Phase II:

  • Go to libraries, museums, and exhibitions

Bars and restaurants are currently slated to be open on 1 June. But there will be an announcement in mid-May to assess if the reopening phases have worked.

Here’s the video of Conte announcing Phase II information:

Update, 14 April 2020

I have been updating this post almost daily since 25 February, when Italy became the (western) epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then I have collected so many statistics, anecdotes, graphs, news items, official speeches, and all manner of items relating to the coronavirus emergency in Italy.

On 25 February, Italy reported seven coronavirus-related deaths. Today, exactly seven weeks later, there have been 21,067 deaths, including 602 new deaths today.

Italy has recorded 162,488 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since they began testing. Of those cases, as of today, 37,130 have fully recovered.

Italy’s statistics are still staggering — 600+ cases in one day — but the country has flattened the curve. The daily death rate and the number of confirmed cases have slowed.

Though Italy is on the mend, it will be a while before it fully re-opens. Epidemiologists are already calling the coming months the pandemic summer. Normality as it was before may never return.

It is a scary thought. But hopefully Italy — and those of us who wish to visit her — will find a way forward until a cure for the virus is found.

So this will be my last daily update on this post. However, I may continue to update this post with news on the pending situation, at least until the 3 May quarantine deadline.

Be sure to check out the Helpful Resources in the highlighted dropdown for more information.

Update, 13 April 2020

Italy reported 1,224 new recoveries (total 35,435) on 13 April. It also reported 566 new deaths, bringing the total to more than 20,000 (20,465).

Today is Pasquetta — Easter Monday — in Italy, a day many Italians spend driving to the countryside, lunching with friends, and enjoying the parks. But, of course, those typical activities are impossible this year.

It will be a while before things return to normal in Italy. But the government will allow for some businesses to reopen beginning 14 April. Stationery shops, bookstores, and clothing shops for infants are among the list of shops that will be reopening on Tuesday.

Update, 12 April 2020

When Venice canceled the final day of Carnevale, the City of Milan canceled Ash Wednesday, and multiple museums and businesses in Italy’s north closed their doors, it was a clarion call that Italy was under a health emergency. Easter Sunday seemed far away. “Things would be back to normal by then.”

However, Easter Sunday this year was anything but normal. It was the “new normal.” Forty days later and Italy remains under lockdown, its churches and the Vatican remain closed.

Like he has done previously throughout this crisis, Pope Francesco proceeded to celebrate mass without celebrants. St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square were dramatically empty on Easter Sunday:

President Sergio Mattarella also gave a televised Easter speech in which he said, “I know that many Italians will be spending Easter alone. I will also be alone.”

On 12 April, Italy reported 1,677 recoveries (for a total of 34,211). There were 431 new deaths (total of 19,899), the lowest reported total in three weeks.

Update, 11 April 2020

On March 19, Italy surpassed China and all other countries in the number of coronavirus-related deaths. Today, the United States surpassed Italy

Italy reported 619 new deaths on Easter Saturday, for a total of 19,468. It also reported 2,079 recoveries, for a total of 32,534.

Update, 10 April 2020

Calling it “a difficult decision but a necessary decision of which I naturally take full political responsibility,” Italian PM Giuseppe Conte extended the lockdown until 3 May.

On this day, Italy reported 1,985 recoveries for a total of 30,455 and 570 new coronavirus-related deaths for a total of 18,849.

Today was also Good Friday, which Pope Francis celebrated without celebrants.

Update, 9 April 2020

Today marks one month since the Italian government placed Italy under a nationwide lockdown. On 9 March Italy had recorded 463 coronavirus-related deaths. One month later, there have been a total of 18,279 deaths. There were 610 new deaths and 1,979 recoveries (total: 28,470) in the last day.

Although the deadline for the lockdown is set to end on 13 April, many in Italy are calling 2020 “a summer without travel.” The Local Italy explains:

“Long walks, restaurant visits, and trips out of town aren’t expected to be part of normal life in Italy again any time soon, and some medical experts say social distancing could be in place until the end of the year.”

Update, 8 April 2020

The downward trend continues. On 8 April, Italy’s Protezione Civile reported 3,836 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 139,422. There were 542 new deaths for a total of 17,669. Total recoveries rose by 2,099 to 26,491.

After nearly one month since a nationwide lockdown was imposed, Italy is now having to consider what will happen during “phase two,” a time when restrictions will be relaxed but uncertainty will remain.

“Italy is in the unfortunate position of being two to three weeks ahead of other European countries in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.” –Source

Update, 7 April 2020

Italy reported 3,039 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 135,586. There were 604 new deaths for a total of 17,127.

Meanwhile, there were 2,577 new recoveries, more than double the number of recoveries from the previous day. The total number of recoveries now stands at 24,392.

Update, 6 April 2020

Italy reported 3,599 new coronavirus cases and 1,022 new recoveries on 6 April. There were 636 new deaths from COVID-19 for a total of 16,523.

Update 2, 5 April 2020

The number of new coronavirus-related deaths in Italy was under 600 on 5 April, the slowest rise in two weeks. There were 525 new deaths for a total of 15,887. The number of new cases rose by 4,316, for a total of 128,948, while recoveries increased by 819, for a total of 21,815.

Update, 5 April 2020

For the first day since 25 March, the number of new coronavirus-related deaths in Italy was under 700. There were 681 new deaths for a total of 15,362. The number of new cases rose by 4,805, for a total of 124,632, while recoveries increased by 1,238, for a total of 20,996.

These numbers suggest a downward trend. Via Worldometers/Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the number of patients hospitalized in intensive care in Italy has declined for the first time since the beginning of the epidemic. Italy has also managed to bring down its viral “reproductive number” to 1 from a high of 3. “This value represents the average number of people to which a single infected person will transmit the virus.”

Here’s the news conference with the Protezione Civile from 4 April. If you don’t speak Italian, click on “cc” then on the “gear” for settings where you can select autotranslate.

Update, 4 April 2020

Yesterday evening, Italy reported 4,585 (119,827) new COVID-19 cases, 766 (14,681) new deaths, and 1,480 (19,758) new recoveries.

The Vatican has announced that it will also extend its lockdown until 13 April, which means that the Pope will celebrate Easter alone. Pope Francis sent a message ahead of the beginning of Holy Week calling for the “creativity of love.”

Update, 3 April 2020

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Italy have started leveling out. The latest numbers from the Protezione Civile are 4,668 new infections in the last 24 hours, for a total of 115,242 cases. There were 760 new deaths (total 13,915) and 1,431 recoveries (total 18,278).

Update, 2 April 2020

On the first day of April, Italy reported more recoveries and fewer new deaths than the previous day. There were 1,1118 recoveries, for a total of 16,847, and 727 new deaths, for a total of 13,155. The number of total cases rose by 4,782.

In an address to the nation, PM Conte clarified that the lockdown would continue until 13 April, the day after Easter Sunday.

Update, 1 April 2020

During the briefing on the final day of March, Italy reported 1,109 recoveries (for a total of 15,729) and 837 deaths (for a total of 12,428).

The total number of COVID-19 cases rose by 4,053 to a total of 105,792 —just three more than the previous day and the fewest new cases since March 17.

Even as the number of new cases plateaus, the government has decided to extend the lockdown until at least Easter (12 April).

Update, 31 March 2020

A glimmer of hope in Italy, as it reported 1,590 new recoveries for a total of 14,620 recoveries. This is the highest number of recoveries for a 24-hour period since the COVID-19 emergency took hold of the country.

Italy reported 812 new deaths in the previous day’s updates, bringing the total death toll to 11,591. Total cases rose to 101,739.

Update, 30 March 2020

Italy reported another 756 new deaths in the previous day’s update, bringing the total coronavirus death toll to 10,779. There have been a total of 97,689 cases of COVID-19 in Italy, with 13,030 recoveries.

The nationwide lockdown, which began on 9 March 2020, was scheduled to run until this Friday, 3 April. But as that deadline approaches, the country is considering an extension of the lockdown. A timeline for that has yet to be announced.

Italians are still trying to cope with quarantine, with some musicians playing on their balconies and others giving free concerts on the Internet. Numerous Italian musicians are playing free concerts on Instagram Live, including Jovanotti.

One balcony concert that really moved me circulated all over social channels yesterday. Here’s Jacopo Mastrangelo playing Ennio Morricone’s “C’era Una Volta in America” over the rooftops of Piazza Navona. The original video was shared on the Facebook page of Fabio Mastrangelo.

Update, 29 March 2020

Yesterday, Italy marked a grim milestone as the number of coronavirus deaths in the country passed 10,000. There have now been 10,023 deaths in the country.

Update, 28 March 2020

Yesterday evening, as Italy reported its highest number of coronavirus deaths since the crisis began, Pope Francis stood alone in St. Peter’s Square delivering a rare and powerful Urbi et Orbi blessing:

“For weeks now it has been evening,” said the Pope. “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures, their glances give them away.”

Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi, 27 March 2020

Update 2, 27 March 2020

Today has been the deadliest day in Italy since the coronavirus crisis began.

In the 24 hours since the last official update from the Italian government, there were 919 deaths. New cases rose by 5,959 to a total of 86,498.

Update, 27 March 2020

Italy’s number of deaths from COVID-19 increased by 712 to a total of 8,215. Total coronavirus cases in Italy increased by 6,203 to a total of 80,589.

Bologna-based graphic artist Gianluca Constantini, known as @channeldraw on Twitter, has been drawing one image a day that is related to the coronavirus crisis in Italy. The Voyage of Italy is a simple but powerful reminder of the journey that the country has taken, from Venice carnival-goers wearing masks to a hall of caskets in Bergamo.

The Voyage of Italy, the ironically titled collection of drawings about Italy’s coronavirus crisis, by Gianluca Constantini.

Update, 26 March 2020

Italy reported 683 new deaths in last night’s 6pm update, a slight drop from the day before. The total number of dead has now risen above 7,000 to 7,503. Italy also reported 5,210 new cases, for a total of 74,386. So far, 9,362 have recovered.

Some news items from the last 24 hours:

Update, 25 March 2020

Italy reported 743 new deaths on the previous day, bringing the total to 6,820. There have been 8,326 recoveries out of 69,176 cases.

Update, 24 March 2020

For the second day in a row, Italy reported fewer deaths than the day before. The country reported 601 new deaths on the previous evening — still a staggering number. But hopefully, the downward trend will continue.

Additionally, this graph via GEDI Visual (listed in resources drop-down on this page) provides some hope.

You can also track COVID-19 cases in Italy, province-by-province with this interactive map from GEDI Visual/Flourish:

Update, 23 March 2020

Italy reported 651 new deaths on the previous evening. This is a small improvement over the previous day.

Meanwhile, the country continues to clamp down on activity in order to get a handle on the crisis. The government announced a ban on jogging and also restricted dog walkers to 200m from their home, as too many Italians were taking liberties with these quarantine exceptions.

Update, 22 March 2020

“This is the most difficult crisis our country has faced since World War II,” said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in an address to the nation on the evening of 21 March. Conte called for a shutdown of all businesses through April 3, stipulating that “only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed.”

Conte delivered his speech after health authorities reported the highest one-day surge of COVID-19 deaths. Italy reported 793 new deaths in the 24-hour period since the last update, bringing the total to 4,825. New cases rose by 6,557 to a total of 53,578. More than 6,000 people in Italy who have tested positive for coronavirus have recovered.

Among the latest high profile figures in Italy to test positive for COVID-19 are AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini and current Juventus star Paulo Dybala.

Update, 21 March 2020

The number of coronavirus cases in Italy continues to rise exponentially. The total number of cases rose by 5,986, for a total of 47,021. New coronavirus deaths were 627, for a total of 4,032.

The situation is awful. But Italy looks to be “flattening the curve.” Take a look at the following graphs. While the total number of cases is rising on the linear scale, they are leveling out on the logarithmic scale:

Today marks exactly one month since the first quarantines in Italy went into effect in Codogno, Lombardy, and nearby areas. And while the news is grim, the lockdown appears to be working. Still, PM Conte has announced that the country-wide quarantine will be extended beyond 3 April.

Update, 20 March 2020

Italy’s coronavirus deaths have now surpassed those in China. On 19 March, Italy reported 5,322 more cases and 427 new deaths. The total number of deaths is 3,405.

Italy’s country-wide quarantine is now in its 11th day.

Update, 19 March 2020

A new study conducted by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità says that 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities had underlying health conditions.

Here are the latest numbers:

  • Total Cases (Cumulative): 35,713, +4,207 new
  • Deaths: 2,978, +475
  • Recovered: 4,025, +1,084 new

Update, 18 March 2020

On 17 March, Italy reported 3,526 new cases and 345 new deaths.

Update, 17 March 2020

The number of reported coronavirus cases in Italy increased by 3,233 to a total of 27,980. There were 349 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in Italy to 2,158.

Italy updates its coronavirus statistics every day at 6 pm CET.

Update, 16 March 2020

Coronavirus cases in Italy have continued to rise. On the evening of 14 March, Italy reported 3,497 new cases with 175 new deaths. On Sunday, 15 March, the total number of cases had risen to 24,747 with 368 new deaths, bringing the number of total deaths to 1,809.

To understand the scope of this crisis, Giovanni Locatelli posted a video comparing the obituary pages from his local newspaper L’Eco di Bergamo on 9 February and 13 March. On 9 February, Italy had only three confirmed cases of COVID-19, there were 1.5 pages of obituaries in the paper. On 13 March, there were 10 pages.

“Una semplice influenza,” says Locatelli. “A simple flu.”

I have been updating this page since 25 February, four days after Italy reported its first death from coronavirus. I advocated early on against travel to Italy during this time because of the uncertainties that came with each death and each closure. As a website dedicated to travel to Italy, that was a tough position to take. But I am glad that my intuition told me that this was something more than just panic and bad PR.

I hope that those who read this will take Italy’s example to heart. Practice good hygiene and social distancing. Stay inside and make music with your loved ones. Understand that restricting your movements and travel can make a difference for yourself and your community.

Update, 14 March 2020

Italy’s COVID-19 case numbers released on the evening of 13 March indicate the biggest one-day leap so far of the virus. There have been 17,660 cases and 1,266 deaths.

Though they are under home quarantine, Italians are showing great hope and resilience as evidenced by the outbreak of music and sing-a-longs in city centers.

Update, 13 March 2020

As of today, 15,113 people in Italy have contracted the coronavirus. The number of deaths has now surpassed 1,000 (1,016) and there have been 1,258 recoveries.

“Coronavirus has turned my beloved Italy into a wasteland,” writes Antonello Guerrera, who shared photos on Twitter of empty squares in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan.

Update, 12 March 2020

Italy has now suspended all commercial activities in the country, save for public transportation, groceries, and pharmacies. Residents are being asked to remain at home (restare a casa) until 3 April.

Italy’s number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. There have been 12,462 cases, 10,590 of which are still active. There have been 827 deaths.

The Local Italy continues to have excellent coverage of the pandemic, including information on restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus.

Update, 11 March 2020

Italy now reports 10,149 COVID-19 cases and 631 deaths.

Vatican City, including the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, will remain closed until 3 April 2020. Source

Update, 10 March 2020: All of Italy is now a red zone.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared in a press conference last night that the country will restrict travel into and out of Italy at least through 3 April. Travel between regions and cities in Italy is also being restricted, except in cases of emergency.

Coronavirus cases in Italy now number 9,172 — 7,985 of these are active cases. There have been 463 deaths and 724 recoveries.

Update 2, 8 March 2020

Italy has now made the decision to close all cinemas, theaters, museums, archaeological parks, archives, and libraries throughout the country until 3 April.

Update, 8 March 2020: Total coronavirus cases in Italy have risen to 5,883. There have been 233 total deaths and 589 recoveries.

Given the dramatic rise in new cases, the Italian government has decided to put the entire region of Lombardy under lockdown. People in the region that includes Milan will not be able to leave and those outside the region will not be allowed to except in cases of emergency.

Italy has also placed 11 northern provinces in the red zone until 3 April. They are: Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini (in Emilia-Romagna); Pesaro e Urbino (in Marche); Venezia, Padova, Treviso (Veneto); and Asti e Alessandria (Piemonte).

Red zone map of Italy as of 8 March 2020

More about the latest measures here.

Update, 6 March 2020

There have been 3,858 reported cases of COVID-19 in Italy, with 148 deaths and 414 recovered. Vatican City has now reported its first case of the coronavirus and San Marino, the small country situated between the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche, has reported 21 cases. These statistics come from Worldometers, which also shows statistics from all other affected countries.

Why have there been so many coronavirus deaths in Italy? The Local has a good explainer about this. One thing to know is that Italy has tested more of its population than some other countries have, thus the higher incidence of cases.

Last night, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella appealed for calm. He said that though “this moment is challenging” and the government is treating the crisis with “great seriousness,” anxiety is “counterproductive.”

“We will overcome this condition.”

Update, 5 March 2020

There have been 3,089 cases of coronavirus in Italy, with 107 deaths and 276 totally recovered. The Italian government has closed all schools until March 15. The Ministry of Sport has declared that all sporting events will be played without spectators (porte chiuse) until April 3.

In my last update, I forgot to mention another valuable source. The Local Italy, and English language news site about Italy, has been following the coronavirus news very closely. Their frequently updated coronavirus map of Italy is particularly helpful.

Update, 3 March 2020

As of today, there have been 2,036 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy. Of these, there have been 52 deaths, while 149 have fully recovered. The worst affected areas continue to be in the north — that is, in Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna. However, nearly every region in Italy now has at least one case.

You can find the latest coronavirus stats in several places.

Update, 1 March 2020

The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 3 travel advisory for Italy. For Lombardy and Veneto, the regions where Milan and Venice, the travel advisory is a Level 4: Do Not Travel.

Meanwhile, many in the travel sector are urging visitors to come. The virus has not yet spread to Italy’s south. Rome, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia, among other destinations, are open for business. Yet, economists say the tourism industry is collapsing. They predict that Italy will see 22 million fewer visitors over the next three months.

If you have travel plans to Italy over the next few months, this article about coronavirus and travel insurance may be of interest.

This too shall pass. But when?

Last updated on March 12th, 2021

Post first published on February 25, 2020

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