How is it spreading? Italy raced on Sunday (Feb 23) to contain the biggest outbreak of coronavirus in Europe, sealing off the worst affected towns and banning public gatherings in much of the north as the number of those infected jumped above 100. Authorities in the wealthy regions of Lombardy and Veneto, which are the focal point of the flare-up, ordered schools and universities to close for at least a week, shut museums and cinemas and called off the last two days of the Venice Carnival.
“As of this evening, there will be a ban on the Venice Carnival as well as on all events, including sporting ones, until March 1 inclusive,” the regional governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, told reporters. He said Sunday’s festivities in the packed lagoon city would continue to prevent any public order problems. The number of certified cases of the illness in Lombardy rose to 90 from 54 a day earlier, while in Veneto some 25 people had come down with the virus, including two people in Venice. Health officials reported isolated cases in the neighboring regions of Piedmont and Emilia Romagna, saying the total number of known infections in Italy had risen to above 130. Two elderly people have died in the past 48 hours from the disease.
The regional governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, said he had dealt with numerous natural disasters during his long career, including floods and earthquakes. “But this is the absolutely worst problem that Veneto has faced,” he told reporters. Almost a dozen towns in Lombardy and Veneto with a combined population of some 50,000 have effectively been placed under quarantine, with locals urged to stay home and special permission needed to enter or leave the designated areas.
Health authorities are struggling to work out how the outbreak started. The first cases were announced only on Friday and doctors do not know its source. Initial suspicion in Lombardy fell on a businessman recently returned from China, the epicenter of the new virus, but he has tested negative. In Veneto, doctors tested a group of eight Chinese visitors who had been to the town that was home to the first fatality, but again, they all tested negative. “We are (now) even more worried because if we cannot find ‘patient zero’ then it means the virus is even more ubiquitous than we thought,” Zaia said. Prior to Friday, Italy had reported just three cases of the virus – all of them people who had recently arrived from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the illness emerged last year. The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was concerned by the upsurge in new cases and a lack of clarity over its spread. –Straits Times
Until we can get pathology reports from China on the deceased victims of SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19), we won’t know: a) the actual lethality of the virus. b). what it does to the body (organs and tissue tropism) and thus how to respond to the amplified infection with the most effective treatment. c). What’s the virus primary modes of transmissibility (is it binding to the upper or lower respiratory tracts of victims) d). what type of vaccine needs to be developed. This is the first pathology analysis we’ve gotten on COVID-19 and it has a limited amount of case-data. -The Extinction Protocol