Alitalia deplaining
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

16 Million People Quarantined in Northern Italy

Giuseppe Conte — who is the current prime minister of Italy — signed a decree earlier today, Sunday, March 8, 2020, which places most of northern Italy under lockdown as a result of the biggest jump in infections in one day in Italy. It is the toughest and most restrictive measure taken to control the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outside of mainland China.

16 Million People Quarantined in Northern Italy

Venice gondola
Photograph ©2004 by Brian Cohen.

This means that approximately 16 million people — or greater than 25 percent of the population of the entire country of Italy — are under quarantine through at least Friday, April 3, 2020.

“Confusion reigned from Milan to Venice as residents and tourists tried to figure out exactly when and how the new rules were coming into effect”, according to this article written by Frances D’Emilio and Yuri Kageyama of the Associated Press. “Travelers rushed to train stations and crammed aboard standing-room only trains, tucking their faces into scarves and sharing sanitizing gel.”

At the time this article was written, at least 3,380 people have died of the minimum of 98,192 confirmed cases in 88 countries and territories worldwide, according to Situation Report 47 of the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV. Of those statistics, at least 197 of those deaths occurred in Italy, where 4,636 confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus have been reported.

The majority of the cases were reported in the Lombardy region when the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was first discovered in Italy. Travel alerts were first issued by airlines for northern Italy on Tuesday, February 25, 2020; but those travel alerts were extended to all of Italy two days later.

In addition to the Lombardy region being included in the current decree are 14 provinces:

  1. Alessandria
  2. Asti
  3. Modena
  4. Novara
  5. Padova
  6. Parma
  7. Pesaro e Urbino
  8. Piacenza
  9. Reggio Emilia
  10. Rimini
  11. Treviso
  12. Venezia
  13. Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
  14. Vercelli

Suspension of Services and Events in the Entire Country of Italy

Cafes and restaurants will be permitted to stay open between 6:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening on the condition that business owners can ensure people are distanced safely by at least one meter. Any violation of this condition by any business will mean the suspension of its operations.

Although most of northern Italy will be covered under the new lockdown decree, numerous measures will also apply to the entire country of Italy — including the suspension of:

  • Congress and meetings that involve health care personnel and servants of essential public services
  • Dance schools, pubs, disco and bingo
  • Religious ceremonies — including funerals
  • Schools and university classes
  • Sports events
  • Theaters and cinema


According to the aforementioned article, “Italy’s move echoed China’s lockdown of some 60 million people in central Hubei province in late January, which is now in its sixth week.”

Do you believe that the mass quarantine of northern Italy is necessary; not enough action taken by officials in Italy; or an overblown reaction to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

All photographs ©2004 and ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!