People wearing masks in Piazza DuomoCoronavirus outbreak, Milan, Italy - 24 Feb 2020

MILAN — In the words of Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, “Let’s tone it down. Italy can’t be paralyzed.”

Italy, and the city of Milan in particular, are working to return to some form of normality after the sudden coronavirus outbreak last week.

Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala on Thursday posted on Instagram a motivational video with the hashtag that translates into “Milan does not stop.” Showing a collage of images representative of the city, and a running commentary along the lines of “Every day we make miracles, every day we are not afraid, every day we bring results,” Sala aimed at reassuring citizens, urging them to return to everyday life. The video, which was viewed by more than 200,000 people in five hours, is also a shoutout to Italy and other cities in the country, including Codogno, outside Milan, where the virus was first detected here.


Milan’s Gothic cathedral, the Duomo, will reopen on Monday, and the closure of bars after 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. has been amended, as long as customers can sit at tables. After the closure of schools, museums, cinemas and theaters, over the weekend, the government will decide whether schools will reopen on Monday, although the Marche region has already given a green light to students returning to school on March 2.

“Our country is stronger than the virus,” said the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, whose last name aptly translates into “hope.” “Confident in the scientific community and the necessary measures, we will overcome this emergency all together.”

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy was being harmed by misreporting abroad, which is damaging to the country’s economy and reputation. While France’s President Emmanuel Macron, in Naples for the Italy-France bilateral summit on Thursday, told reporters that his country would not close its borders to Italians, contradicting the leader of Rassemblement National, Marine Le Pen, Italians traveling to Israel have not been allowed entrance.

“Our scientific community is addressing the situation brilliantly. We have gone from an epidemic risk to an ‘infodemic’ and our relationship with the foreign press at the moment is precious,” Di Maio said.

His remarks came after the three patients, including the Chinese couple that had been touring Italy in January, treated for the coronavirus at Rome’s Spallanzani hospital had been cured.

Di Maio said the outbreak was still small and that comprehensive data was available because of the 1,000 swabs taken. “The people in quarantine are 0.089 percent of the population and 0.01 percent of Italy’s territory is in isolation.”

As of Thursday evening, the media reported 650 people had been infected, 17 had died and 45 were cured. On that same day, the Italian virus strain had been isolated at Milan’s Sacco hospital, which was hailed as a discovery that will allow scientists to understand what happened and how the virus circulated. The following step will be to develop antibodies and vaccines.

The government has allocated 20 million euros to support the health emergency and the Minister of Tourism Dario Franceschini is requesting special measures to help a sector that is fundamental for Italy and that is the most impacted by the coronavirus crisis. According to association Assoturismo Confesercenti, hotels, bed and breakfasts and travel agencies have seen 200 million euros in cancellations for the month of March. The sector accounts for 13 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product. Rome has seen peaks of 90 percent cancellations and 80 percent in Sicily.

While, as reported, Milan’s Mido eyewear trade show, furniture and design trade show Salone del Mobile, and Bologna’s beauty and cosmetics show Cosmoprof have all postponed their dates, Vinitaly, the country’s  largest international trade show dedicated to wines, has confirmed it will show in Verona April 19 to 22.