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Table 2 Italy’s COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control policies

From: Policy disparities in fighting COVID-19 among Japan, Italy, Singapore and China

Phase Policy The Key elements
Phase 1 Set up a special agency to promote the epidemic response On 22 January, 2020, the Working Group on Response to COVID-19, led by the Italian Minister of Health, was established to discuss the progress of the epidemic and propose measures to prevent and control the epidemic.
Border control measures (1) On January 31, 2020, the Italian Prime Minister announced that the country had entered a state of emergency for 6 months, cutting off all flights to and from China.
(2) On February 3, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent military aircraft to bring Italian citizens in Wuhan back home, and conducted 14-day quarantine.
(3) On February 22, the Prime Minister announced that all passengers who had traveled to China 14 days prior to entry must accept isolation at home or hotel. Close contacts must be forced to isolate for 14 days.
(4) From March 13 to March 16, several terminals were closed, and many civil flights at major airports and international flights from Milan were grounded.
Phase 2 Public health response (1) On February 22, 2020, Italy imposed a lockdown with shutdown of businesses, schools and public places plus physical distancing in Milan and Venice.
(2) On March 1, the whole country of Italy was divided into red zone, yellow zone and safe zone. In addition to the “isolated quarantine” of the red zone, yellow zone suspended social and sports activities and closed Schools, clubs, theaters and cinemas.
(3) The precautionary measures continue to be upgraded. On March 10, Italy imposed a lockdown with prohibiting all public gatherings and suspending all sports events in the whole country.
(4) On March 11, Italy required all commercial activities to be stopped except for pharmacies and supermarkets that supply essential necessities throughout the country.
(5) On March 20, the Italian government added restrictions on public travel and commercial activities.
The next day, all non-essential production activities were stopped nationwide. Remote office should be implemented in non-essential situations.
The Prime Minister announced the implementation of this series of prevention and control measures until May 3, and entered ongoing epidemic prevention and control phase.
More stringent testing policies (1) On February 25, 2020, the Italian Ministry of Health issued more stringent testing policy. This recommendation prioritized testing for patients with more severe clinical symptoms.
(2) On February 27, the Italian Ministry of Health announced that it would revise the current method of accounting for confirmed cases in accordance with the standards of WHO and the European Center for Disease Control: Asymptomatic positive patients and people who have not undergone secondary tests will not be included in the confirmed data.