COVID-19 pandemic in Italy

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 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. In October, Italy was hit by the second wave of the pandemic, which brought the government to introduce further restrictions on movement and social life, which, as of March 2021, are still in effect.As of 3 March 2021, Italy has 437,421 active cases, one of the highest in the world. Overall, there have been 2,976,274 confirmed cases and 98,635 deaths (a rate of 1,635 deaths per million population) while there have been 2,440,218 recoveries or dismissals. By 3 March, Italy had tested about 19,906,000 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. In March 2021, Istat published a new report in which it detected an excess mortality of 108,000 deaths in 2020, compared to the average of the previous five years. Moreover, 2020 became the year with the highest amount of deaths since 1945, when Italy was fighting in World War II on its soil.

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