Updated March 4, 2020
New cases of coronavirus have been reported outside of China, including a growing number in Italy, so we’ve received a number of queries about what’s happening in Rome. The situation is ongoing so we will continue to monitor official sources and keep you informed but here’s what you need to know about upcoming travel to Italy.
Has coronavirus affected Rome?
As of March 4, 2020, life is Rome is carrying on as normal. People are still going about their business, whether that means tourists visiting monuments and museums or locals heading to work or socializing with friends. The airports are quieter than usual, and some people are wearing face masks, but people are still dining at restaurants, going to school and going to work. Many pharmacies are sold out of face masks and hand sanitizer but there are no food shortages in supermarkets.
That’s because Rome has only had a handful of isolated cases of coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV or COVID-19. According to Wanted In Rome, Rome’s Spallanzani hospital is treating a total of seven Coronavirus cases, including a Chinese couple who were the first cases of Coronavirus on Italian soil and are currently making a good recovery (March 2, 2020).
What’s happening in the rest of Italy?
According to CNBC: “The outbreak of the coronavirus has centered on Italy’s wealthy northern regions of Lombardy (with 1,520 cases), Veneto (307 cases) and Emilia-Romagna (420 cases). The death toll in Italy jumped to 79 on Tuesday, up from an official total of 52 on Monday. As of Wednesday morning, there are 2,502 cases of the virus in Italy, according to Italian media reports that are updated ahead of the daily official count, published by Italy’s Civil Protection Agency every evening.”
It’s important to put these figures into context too: Italy has a population of 60 million and also has some of the most stringent testing for the virus. Experts suggest this aggressive testing could be the reason why the cases have been identified.
While there are no restrictions on traveling in around Rome – or, indeed, across most of Italy – there are a small number of towns in northern Italy that are quarantined.
Should I cancel my trip to Italy?
The choice to travel is, of course, up to you. You may wish to reconsider if you have plans to travel to the north of Italy (although the towns in quarantine are way off the tourist trail and flights are still running to the regions) but if you’re heading to central or southern Italy, there is currently no reason to cancel your trip. The advisory level on the US State Department website is currently* at “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution”. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) “does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to Italy”.
*Update 1st March: the advisory level has been changed to 4 for Northern Italy.
Is it safe to travel to Rome?
As mentioned, it’s very much business as usual here in Rome and there is no official indication – from the Italian government or elsewhere – to avoid travel to Rome due to coronavirus. If you have booked an apartment with Treasure Rome and have other queries or concerns, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org! We’ll be happy to provide you with the latest information to help put your mind at ease.
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
If you think you might have coronavirus, do not go to the hospital. Instead call the 1500 number, which has been specially set up to provide more information on the virus, how to avoid getting it, and what to do if you think you might be infected. Advisors will assess your condition over the phone and, if necessary, send someone to you to test for the virus. Advice is offered in Italian, English, and Chinese languages.