The lockdown policy in Italy officially ended on Monday (5/4). The government has allowed citizens to return to their normal activities with a number of coronavirus prevention rules and protocols.
For nine weeks, Italians were totally locked down to suppress the spread of the coronavirus. For more than two months, residents have been locked up at home to break spread of Covid-19.
To date, Italy has the second most deaths from Covid-19 in the world, just below the United States. There have been 210,717 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Italy, with 28,884 deaths and 81,654 patients recovered.
The coronavirus entered Italy at the end of January, and since then the number has continued to grow unchecked. Hundreds of deaths were recorded on typical days.
Initially, lockdown was only in the northern region of Italy, but this expanded to the whole country as of March 9th.
Surges in confirmed cases and deaths continued to occur amid the lockdown policy or the total closure imposed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Health experts and doctors consider several factors causing Italy to become a haven for the coronavirus, ranging from non-compliance of citizens to the numbers of elderly population in the European country.
A group of medical experts sent to Italy said initially that the quarantine and lockdown policy implemented by PM Conte, especially in the north, was too lax.
The high number of the elderly is considered to be one of the main factors causing death due to Covid-19 in Italy. As many as 23 percent of the total population of Italy is aged over 65 years old. Italy currently has the second largest elderly population after Japan.
All of these factors finally led the Italian Government to close all borders. Residents had to remain at home. All activities were stopped, including religious ceremonies, weddings and funerals.
The military mobilized to ensure that these lockdown rules were obeyed. A bright spot surfaced when the number of patients recovering in Italy exceeded the death rate in early April.
Supported by a capable health care system, In mid-April Italy recorded its lowest number of deaths due to the coronavirus, while confirming that the outbreak in the country had passed its peak.
The Italian health system has become one of the best in Europe. In addition to providing various health services, Italy also guarantees the cost of almost all health care.
An Indonesian citizen in Italy, Rieska Wulandari, witnessed the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases there. He felt steps taken by the Italian government in responding to the coronavirus was appropriate.
“Italy was actually anticipatory and proactive, because the number treated at home was almost as many as those treated in hospitals,” Rieska said in March.
According to Rieska, although the number of people infected with Covid-19 in Italy is relatively high, the government is actively tracking people who have had contact with people with confirmed cases.
More and more, Covid-19 cases are decreasing. On Sunday (3/5), there were 1,389 new confirmed cases, down from 1,900 on the previous day. The death toll on Sunday was 174 people, the lowest since two months ago.
Italian citizens have been waiting for this day for a long time. They enthusiastically welcomed the easing of the lockdown, as a breath of fresh air.
“There will be great happiness because we can run again carefree,” said a resident named Stefano Milano when interviewed in Rome as quoted by AFP.
The government has however warned not to rule out the possibility of local quarantines if confirmed cases of Covid-19 increase again.