cleaners during phase 1

On March the 4th the Italian government declared the start of phase one of the lockdown to contain the Corona virus outbreak.

Italy was hit from January, and was quickly denominated the red zone, counting more than 60.000 cases and an average of 600 deaths per day.

The government created a plan that was supposed to contain the virus, and quickly enough, phase one started.

it was supposed to last only a couple of weeks, however, it was extended to 10 weeks, from the 4th of March, until the 4th of May.

signs of shops closed for phase 1

All schools were closed, including workplaces that were non-essentials, and many regulations were put in place.

Moreover, the government created a form called the auto-declaration, that was the only document that could be used to travel anywhere, even to work.

autodeclaration form

Duomo di Milano during lockdown

Travelling outside one’s house was only permitted for emergencies and essential workers, masks and gloves were legally required, and police had the power to fine or arrest people who did not follow the regulations.

However, something peculiar happened that underlined the disparity and difference between the South and North of the country.

Milan during phase 1
Milan during phase 1

In fact, the pandemic hit the North of Italy the hardest, especially the city of Milan that quickly turned from a global city to a ghost town.

Video: Milan residents, Germano Buttazzo and Annamaria Lagalla, talk about phase one.

For an odd reason, that no one seems to be able to pin exactly, while the North of Italy was suffering great losses and fear, the South was fine.

Regions like Campania, Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia barely represented 4% of the whole contagion in the peninsula.

Lecce during phase 1

Plus, although phase one was strictly followed in this area as well, life was not that different, and the general atmosphere was not as scary.

Video: Lecce resident, Alessandro Biscozzi, talks about phase one.

A big reason of this disproportion might come from the riches and globalisation disparity already in place between the two areas, and it has underlined an important issue in the country.

Nonetheless, things are starting to look better for Italy that slowly eased into phase two of the lockdown, releasing some of the harshest regulations and looking forward to rebuilding the economy.

To date, the total number of assessed cases in Italy is 219.814

  • 106.587 patients have recovered
  • 30.739 died however, this number can be confirmed only upon certification of cause of death by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità.

Of the 82.488 positive cases:

  • 67.950 are under home isolation
  • 13.539 are in hospital care with symptoms
  • 999 are in intensive care

Data from the Ministero della Salute, 12th May 2020.