The COVID-19 pandemic in Italy is part of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first confirmed to have spread to Italy on 31 January 2020, when two Chinese tourists in Rome tested positive for the virus. One week later an Italian man repatriated back to Italy from the city of Wuhan, China, was hospitalised and confirmed as the third case in Italy. Clusters of cases were later detected in Lombardy and Veneto on 21 February, with the first deaths on 22 February. By the beginning of March, the virus had spread to all regions of Italy. On 6 March 2020, the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) published medical ethics recommendations regarding triage protocols that needed to be employed.
On 31 January, the Italian government suspended all flights to and from China and declared a state of emergency. In February, eleven municipalities in northern Italy were identified as the centres of the two main Italian clusters and placed under quarantine. The majority of positive cases in other regions traced back to these two clusters.
On 8 March 2020, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte expanded the quarantine to all of Lombardy and 14 other northern provinces, and on the following day to all of Italy, placing more than 60 million people in lockdown. On 11 March 2020, Conte prohibited nearly all commercial activity except for supermarkets and pharmacies. On 21 March, the Italian government closed all non-essential businesses and industries, and restricted movement of people. In May, many restrictions were gradually eased, and on 3 June freedom of movement across regions and other European countries was restored.
As of 19 February 2021[update], Italy has 382,448 active cases, one of the highest in the world. Overall, there have been 2,780,882 confirmed cases and 95,235 deaths (a rate of 1,579 deaths per million population) while there have been 2,303,199 recoveries or dismissals. By 19 February, Italy had tested about 18,740,000 people. Due to the limited number of tests performed, the real number of infected people in Italy, as in other countries, is estimated to be higher than the official count. In May 2020, the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) estimated 11,000 more deaths for COVID-19 in Italy than the confirmed ones. This estimation was later confirmed in October 2020 by a second Istat report.
^Mounk, Yascha (11 March 2020). "The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020. Now the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) has published guidelines for the criteria that doctors and nurses should follow in these extraordinary circumstances. The document begins by likening the moral choices facing Italian doctors to the forms of wartime triage that are required in the field of "catastrophe medicine."