Italy announced Monday an extension at least until Easter of the confinement in place for three weeks, but the authorities are thinking about the strategy to make the country go again after the tragedy of Covid-19. A recovery that will be gradual, warned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
The right time for a restart of activity could correspond to that when the number of new infections will be zero or close to zero throughout the territory. Or, according to experts, between May 5 and May 16, with differences between regions. In Trentino-Alto Adige (North), this threshold could be crossed from April 6, in Valle d’Aosta (North) on April 8, in Puglia (South) the next day and in the Rome region, Lazio (Center) on the 16th, according to estimates by the Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (Eief), quoted on Tuesday by the daily Il Corriere della Sera. In the northern regions most affected, this level should be reached on April 14 in Veneto, on April 22 in Lombardy and on April 28 in Emilia-Romagna. It is Tuscany (Center) which would close the march on May 5. Uncertainties remain in a few regions, including that of Naples, Campania (South).
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For Franco Locatelli, president of the Superior Council of Health, to revive the country it is necessary to pass by serological tests, in order to know “the spread of the coronavirus and have relevant information on group immunity”, which would provide sufficient protection for the entire population.
“The priority goes to health, but we must reconcile it with the economic aspects to avoid a difficult situation,” he said Tuesday in the daily Il Messaggero.
The proposal of the President of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, is being studied with interest. The elected representative recommends providing workers with a “license” which would certify that they are not contagious via a rapid serological test to find out if a person has been in contact with the virus.
“Scientific experience tells us that this approach is correct,” explains Maurizio Sanguinetti, infectious disease specialist at the Gemelli Foundation in Rome.
The scientist specifies that it is possible to use a machine, which the Gemelli hospital must receive next week, and “which performs around 1,400 tests per day”, he specifies in the daily newspaper Il Messaggero. According to him, it will however be necessary to combine serological tests, which detect specific antibodies, and molecular tests, which seek the presence of the virus in the body. “You have to keep in mind that there is a five-day window during which the antibodies have not developed but where the virus may be there”, hence the interest in combining the two techniques for more reliable results.
A resumption of “slow and progressive” activities
The Council of Ministers which will meet on Wednesday or Thursday will endorse confinement until Easter, and should indicate the procedure to follow, if the number of patients decreases durably. According to media reports, the government is working on a new decree, which could be issued on Saturday and would assess the possible reopening of certain activities linked to the food and pharmaceutical chain but which, until now, were not among the essential services.
It would be, for example, “mechanical companies linked to the food industry or chemical companies which will have to prove that they respect the regulations on the safety distance between employees and the supply of protective equipment”, explains Il Corriere della Sera.
In recent days, scientists have “suggested” leaving out of the reopening list the places where there are the most people (discos, bars, restaurants, conference rooms …).
Spring then summer, “outdoor” seasons, will not help to accelerate the decision to generalize deconfinement. This is why, even when the emergency is over, the premises will have to meet new requirements, such as the distance between customers, which must always be at least one meter, both for tables and for common areas. . Great attention will be paid to the ventilation systems. The recovery must be slow, gradual and likely to exclude the possibility that the “positive” are moving, “warn scientists, who believe that a new phase of transmission of the virus within families could create a further emergency.
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