Italy locked down to limit spread of Covid-19 but deaths increase

Italy is in near total lockdown to try to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus, with businesses and restaurants shut and streets virtually deserted. Italians have been barred from travelling to Austria.

A New Zealander in Rome has just been interviewed on RNZ, they have to stay in their hotel except for emergencies, and have no idea how long they will have to stay there.

The impact of the virus in New Zealand is much less drastic but still significant.

Reuters: Streets deserted as Italy imposes unprecedented coronavirus lockdown

Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were canceled and streets emptied across Italy on Tuesday, the first day of an unprecedented, nationwide lockdown imposed to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus.

The government has told all Italians to stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel until April 3, dramatically widening steps already taken in much of the wealthy north, which is the epicenter of the spreading contagion.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte unexpectedly expanded the so-called red zone to the entire country on Monday night, introducing the most severe controls on a Western nation since World War Two.

The move shocked many small businesses, which feared for their future.

“It looks like an apocalypse has struck, there is no one around,” said Mario Monfreda, who runs Larys restaurant in a smart Rome residential area. Under the government order, all bars and restaurants will now have to close at 6.00 p.m.

However, the prosperous northern region of Lombardy, centered on Italy’s financial capital Milan, called on the government to introduce even more stringent measures.

This must have a massive effect on the Italian economy, as well as on the lives of Italians and anyone else stuck in the country.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Italy has officially gone from 9,172 to 10,149.

Of that number, 1,004 have fully recovered.

Italy’s death toll of 631 is the largest outside China, and the latest increase in deaths – 168 – is the biggest recorded in a single day.

So it looks like things are getting worse. It is reported that Italian hospitals are under severe pressure.

BBC: Italians barred from Austria to stop spread

Austria has announced a ban on people entering the country from Italy unless they carry a medical certificate, in an attempt to stop coronavirus spreading.

Speaking after the Italian government imposed travel restrictions across the country, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Austrians returning from Italy would have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Austria has seen 158 cases of coronavirus so far.

Austria and Italy share a border north of Italy’s South Tyrol region. On Tuesday, South Tyrol, in common with the rest of Italy, closed all cultural centres and restricted access to bars and cafes to daytime hours.

Italy’s nationwide lockdown limits travel to those with “verifiable work requirements or situations of necessity”. All sporting events have been suspended, and schools and universities have been shut until 3 April. Employees have been urged either to work from home or take annual leave.

In other parts of Europe:

  • Spain has reported 1,622 cases, almost half in the Madrid area, and all Spanish sport is to be played behind closed doors until April, including La Liga matches
  • Several German states are imposing restrictions. Bavaria will ban events involving more than 1,000 people
  • Denmark has recommended avoiding public transport during the rush hour and banned planes from landing from Northern Italy, part of Austria, Iran and areas of South Korea and China
  • Czech schools will shut from Wednesday and authorities are looking for dozens of customers of a Czech Uber driver who tested positive for the virus

After a big drop Tuesday the US sharemarket has recovered slightly (0.41%) so far on their Wednesday, but the virus is still a problem there.

Reuters: ‘This is likely to get worse’: U.S. public health official

The U.S. coronavirus outbreak is likely to get worse, the country’s top public health official said, and Americans should assess their personal circumstances when deciding whether to cancel travel plans or avoid public gatherings.

The number of cases of the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the virus has risen steadily in the United States this week, stoking concerns of a health and economic crisis that could pummel workers and companies.

And the number of cases may be under-detected.

Health officials in New York state and other parts of the country hard hit by the coronavirus have complained about a shortage of testing capacity.

Trump was heading to Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon to discuss what action should be taken. During the White House meeting he said the administration intended to also help airlines and the cruise line industry.

After reaching some of his best poll results approval of Trump is taking a bit of a hit.

This sort of communication is typical of trump, but facing a serious health crisis people may not be as forgiving as they have been.

In New Zealand things seem under control as far as the virus goes, but there are concerns about business, employment and the economy.

Newsroom: Covid-19 the crisis that could allow debt rule breach

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said for the first time today that the global Covid-19 economic drama that worsened substantially overnight could be the crisis situation that could trigger the exemption clause in the Government’s much-discussed Budget Responsibility Rules. He suggested today that Covid-19, which crashed stock markets overnight, could have passed that threshold to be the ‘out clause’ in the BRRs.

That would be justified.

Newsroom: Govt locks down travel amid Covid-19 fears

A wave of ministries and DHBs are scrambling to put in place travel policies that have been vetted by health experts and approved by staff and unions as the global Covid-19 crisis worsens. While some say they are sticking to advice from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, others have struck out on their own with unique policies.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson told Newsroom that “Ministry of Health employees have been advised that any non-essential international business travel to or through Covid-19 countries of concern should be postponed or cancelled”.

Auckland DHB told staff in a memo on Thursday that it would be restricting overseas travel. Now, Canterbury has joined Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitematā in slapping a ban on “non-essential international [business] travel” and recommending that staff “consider carefully any private international travel”.

Newsroom: Businesses fear late and weak response

As the Government touts a “targeted approach” to a worsening economy, businesses and economists are starting to say the Government just needs to spend. Sometimes a broad brush approach that slops around plenty of cash is better at helping everyone than targeting and means-testing those with the most obvious and provable problems.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday the Government was working on a business continuity package that would include a wage subsidy for affected businesses with possible working capital support.

survey of Retail NZ members showed 60 percent of their members have already been negatively affected by Covid-19. It noted an average 15 percent decrease in sales through its members’ outlets.

Most of those affected retailers (70 percent) expected to have cashflow difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 situation.

While the flow-on effects for the tourism sector have been well-documented, Covid-19 has also changed the behaviour of consumers in unpredictable ways.

Auckland Business Chamber Chief Executive Michael Barnett said the Government needed to get its hands dirty, not be afraid to make mistakes, and start pushing money into businesses to prevent them from folding up or shedding staff.

Infometrics economist Brad Olsen argued there was a growing case for a “supercharged” policy response that overshot the mark.

“At the moment we’ve been quite a long time without having inflation return to its 2 percent band that we normally target,” Olsen said.

First Retail group managing director Chris Wilkinson said indicators from clients were that Covid-19 had changed retail spending patterns and that there had been a “significant” growth in online spending.

He said there was a lack of strong leadership around Covid-19 that had left businesses to make their own decisions which, while in their own interests, might not be in the interests of the wider economy.

Stuff: Recession plans under way

It’s “now certain” that the economic impact of coronavirus will ripple through NZ’s economy for the rest of the year, says government.

The Government is designing a stimulus package in case the economic shock spurred by Coronavirus turns into a recession.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson, in a sit down interview with Stuff, said that while he isn’t forecasting a recession, the nation’s top bureaucrats have been tasked with preparing a macroeconomic package in case it is required.

“We’re not predicting it still, but we directed officials yesterday [Monday] to pull together a macro-economic package that would recognise that we were moving into a sustained global downturn,” Robertson said.

Robertson keeps playing it down some have predicted a recession seems inevitable in New Zealand and world-wide, for obvious reasons.

It’s hard to predict what impact all this will have on us as individuals. The virus seems contained, but the effects of the virus could be significant and for some time.

There were no new Beehive announcements on the virus yesterday, after saying on Tuesday that the details of a Business Continuity Package are ” now being worked through”.

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48 Comments

  1. That doesn’t happen with all diseases, but is this an example of nature weeding out the weak?

    Reply
    • David

       /  11th March 2020

      It is something few will want to say out loud. The Italians are saying they have quite an aged population, which they do, which is why their death toll is stratospheric but they have refrained from saying there will be large cost savings from not having to pay their eye wateringly high pensions to retired state servants.
      With 2 parents at 80 and a brother with a serious heart condition its a worrying time.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  11th March 2020

        Flu and colds always work that way …its more hasten the death of those who are frail, often by complications such as pneumonia. There is a smaller group who arent that frail that have a sort of organ shutdown for various reasons.
        Im having my pneumonia vaccination this week, its expensive around $200+ but its protection for 10 years plus. Its not a herd immunity thing as the pneumonia ‘bug’ is more or less always around but not causing any disease

        Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  11th March 2020

        David, the number of deaths will not affect the economy greatly unless it rises enormously, and unless they were all retired civil servants, they won’t be on the pensions for this group.

        Reply
        • David

           /  11th March 2020

          If you take out tens of thousands of old people (and sick) in a country that does have a positive economic effect, I bloody hate saying that, but its because pension spending in Italy is 16% of GDP the highest in the OECD and for comparison ours is half that.
          Respected scientific figures say the virus could spread to 70% of the population and the mortality rate of at the moment 15 plus % for 80 year olds and this could well rise as Italian hospitals stop treating older people (according to insiders) as they focus on the younger healthier adults the outlook looks absolutely appalling.

          Reply
    • Corky

       /  11th March 2020

      ”That doesn’t happen with all diseases, but is this an example of nature weeding out the weak?”

      Or is it a genetically created virus? Great thing to have if your country is in grave trouble with food shortages and overpopulation.

      Mark Mitchell and Stuart Nash were being interviewed by Mikey this morning. Mitchell accused the government of not tell us the true extent of the situation in NZ.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  11th March 2020

        For those who think I’m off on another weird tangent – read below. If Uncle Sam can do this to his own while under democratic oversight… imagine what China could do with no democratic oversight and a thirst to be the world’s dominate power.

        https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/When-U-S-attacked-itself-Government-tested-2864377.php

        Reply
      • duperez

         /  11th March 2020

        Mitchell accusing and insinuating? Well that’s a surprise, I’m shocked! If he could get away with specifically blaming the Government he would. The only thing stopping him going that whole hog is thinking that some might consider him an opportunistic idiot.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  11th March 2020

          I wouldn’t call him an idiot… but I do agree with you. Mikey asked him to provide some facts and he became vague and started generalising. My worry is that he has actually been told information not available to the public, and for whatever reason would not disclose what he knew. That said, I think he is politicking.

          Reply
  2. Reply
  3. David

     /  11th March 2020

    The banks have started stopping new business loans, had one approved 2 weeks ago and delay then delay then delay with ever stranger excuses on the drawdown. I guess it makes sense as there will be pressure not to foreclose so why increase your exposures.
    Doesnt matter to me will just delay the purchase but it does further reduce the downstream economic activity.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  11th March 2020

      Not so much foreclosure- Im sure you are a good risk- but they are saving credit for other businesses who need more overdraft to cover month to month expenses

      Reply
  4. duperez

     /  11th March 2020

    Trump will blame the Democrats, the bureaucrats, the Federal Reserve, Barack Obama, anyone. Or distract. He shat in the nest by getting rid of the Pandemic Response Team and the stain remains whatever he comes up with. And like a child doesn’t want passengers on a cruise liner to not come ashore because the US numbers of Covid-19 will be added to?

    He told officials to cut costs somewhere, some bright spark said the Pandemic outfit should be on the list and those with intelligence wisdom and experience who thought it a braindead move shut up knowing that upsetting the boss wasn’t a good idea. Or maybe said something and were sacked. (The old North Korean approach.)

    Did Trump Fire the US Pandemic Response Team?’

    https://www.mediamatters.org/donald-trump/finally-asked-about-firing-pandemic-leadership-teams-trump-responds-different

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-fire-pandemic-team/

    Reply
  5. Trump is setting up America to be Wuhan December 2019, but without the response.

    Trump was warned in 2017 and 2018 that there were significant risks of global pandemics that would stretch US. He chose to ignore those warnings.

    In fact he went further. In spite of the dismantled America’s global health security unit and fired the entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure. Obama created it, so it had to go.

    But the warnings continued. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment specifically warned of a disease like the coronavirus: “the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, drain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”

    Trump responded by firing Dan Coats, and tabled further cuts to the CDC budget.

    Now it emerges that Trump has prevented the release of the 2020 Worldwide Threat Assessment because it contains a similar threat assessment: that the US is still vulnerable to flu pandemics and large-scale outbreaks of contagious diseases.

    https://time.com/5799765/intelligence-report-pandemic-dangers/

    And overnight he’s been spruiking his wall to keep the virus out. Newsflash: there are 755 positive cases of COVID-19 in the US, and only 7 in Mexico. The only thing a wall is likely to do is protect the Mexicans from Trump’s stupidity.

    Trump has been warned and warned and warned and warned but there’s never been a Trump Plan to contain the Coronavirus, and there is STILL no plan. There’s no strategy, no coordinated response. Why? Because Trump and his emablers are completely unqualified to create a plan or a strategy. They are grifters and con men and experts at theft, not governing.

    Reply
    • Reply
    • Reply
      • .. Rachel Maddow .. are you kidding me?

        Reply
      • David

         /  11th March 2020

        Maddow the Russian conspiracy theorists. Please its like quoting Hannity for balance

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  11th March 2020

        What will this woman do if Trumpy is reelected?😄. Didn’t she have a meltdown last time?

        Reply
      • Look at the Three Stooges.

        Try reading the message and ignoring the messenger, Maureen, David, and Corky.

        The three of you are so caught up in your shallow identity politics that you’ve ignored the fact Trump’s administration overruled health officials who recommended that the elderly and frail not travel.

        Instead you’re all “Ewww, Rachel Maddow…”

        Just pathetic.

        Reply
        • If there’s a prize for being a hypocrite, you win.
          Stooger – that’s you, actually stooping to quoting Rachel Madcow like you won’t be called on it.
          Identity Politics – if it has Trumps name attached to it, that’s you. If it hasn’t, attach Trump’s name to it and blame him anyway – that’s you too.
          Seriously, take a breath.

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  11th March 2020

          Ishmael…you have been called out for talking through your blowhole.

          You need to accept Trump is ‘the man.’ And will probably still be ‘the man’ after the election.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  11th March 2020

            Donald J. Trump
            @realDonaldTrump

            ”If you like automobiles, how can you vote for a Democrat who all want to get rid of cars, as quickly as possible, especially if they are powered by gasoline. Remember also, no more than one car per family. I, on the other hand, have new plants being built all over Michigan, Plus!”

            God speed, Mr President…and thankyou!

            Reply
        • Pink David

           /  11th March 2020

          “The three of you are so caught up in your shallow identity politics that you’ve ignored the fact Trump’s administration overruled health officials who recommended that the elderly and frail not travel.”

          Wouldn’t that advice stop the Democrat primaries stone dead? You know, being entirely staffed by the elderly and frail.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  11th March 2020

            Not FLY …F.L.Y.
            The primaries are for both parties simultaneously , including one D Trump who wants to be the republican candidate. He has to win delegates like anyone else

            Reply
            • Pink David

               /  11th March 2020

              I’m sure Trump is very conscious of his need to beat Bill Weld. Trump is only ahead 1000:1. He will want to increase that lead to make sure it gets over the line.

              Bill was born after WW2, so he is ruled out of running for the Democrats.

  6. Trump: the rooster who takes credit for the sunrise and who is outraged to be blamed for the sunset.

    Reply
  7. Zedd

     /  11th March 2020

    I keep hearing all this info. about wash your hands (constantly) & disinfect everything in sight.. methinks the main reason why, this has probably occurred; the increasing obsession with living in a ‘Sterile’ environment.
    When I was young, most folks has no problem, with ‘getting a bit of muck under their fingernails’.. it was said to boost your immune system & make us stronger.
    I have been to some houses & shopping malls in recent times, that seem to be as clean/sterile as a hospital ward.. being constantly swabbed & wiped down etc. ? :/

    BUT: recently; I hear that they are looking for healthy volunteers, to be deliberately infected, so they can produce the antibodies to fight this virus

    ….’This is planet EARTH’ 🙂

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  11th March 2020

      Volunteers ? After you, Claude…no, after you, Cyril….

      I can’t ever remember not being taught to wash hands after using the loo and before eating, I must say.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  11th March 2020

        Oops, I mean Cecil, not Cyril.

        Reply
      • Zedd

         /  11th March 2020

        ai tautoko.. wash your hands.. BUT not constantly. The reason we have an immune system, is to fight infection.. IF we live in a pseudo-sterile world, we will become more likely, to catch & even die from ‘the common cold’; as it is usually called.

        btw; I have never had a ‘flu shot’ & only go to the doctor when I need to, not just because there is a mass panic, brought on by a TV news report

        I could not believe the report that a certain Natl MP (DB) was encouraging folks to start panic buying & hoarding ‘just in case’.
        There was also news items, showing people fighting in supermarkets.. over hand sanitisers & toilet paper.. WTF. 😦

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  11th March 2020

          He didn’t, actually; he corrected himself in the next sentence as we have all done when we realise that what we have just said came out wrong.

          I can’t believe that antibacterial soaps are still being bought and used despite their known contribution to lessening the effectiveness of antibiotics by contributing to superbugs.

          Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  11th March 2020

          I began having the flu jab after I had a severe bout of flu that laid me low for weeks. It was horrible and I didn’t want to go through that again.

          Reply
      • Blazer

         /  11th March 2020

        Can’t remember not being …taught….priceless!

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  11th March 2020

          What’s priceless or strange enough to justify surprise about teaching children basic hygiene ? Were you never told to wash your hands afterusing the loo and before you handled food or had a meal ?

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  11th March 2020

          Answer the question. I like to know what type of people I’m dealing with. I know you are [deleted].

          Reply
        • Griff.

           /  11th March 2020

          Basic hygiene is good wash your hands before handling food and after using the toilet
          What is not good is the modern obsession with hand and surface sterilizing agents used indiscriminately .

          1 Exposure to some bacteria in your environment is healthy for your immune system .
          2 Over use will encourage bacteria to develop immunity to such product so they fail to work when we do need them.

          The same goes for demanding a prescription of antibiotics from your doctor every single time you get a slight cold . Antibiotics don’t do anything for a cold it is a viral infection.
          Over prescription of antibiotics has resulted in the development of strains that are immune to them placing us all at risk.

          The same effect can be seen of you use only roundup to spray weeds over a long period of time . Eventually you just end up with a patch of weeds that are roundup resistant.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  11th March 2020

            The idea of having everything sterile goes back a long way.

            In a Victorian/Edwardian book, a father is so obsessed by the idea that his adored little girl will be exposed to danger from germs that she has no resistance at all when she does become ill, and the other people in the story know it.

            Reply
  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  11th March 2020

    The Times is reporting 20,000 Brits are trapped in Italy with no flights to get home.

    It boggles my mind as to how humans think it is a good idea to holiday in Italy in the epicentre of a pandemic or to hoard toilet paper if they are stuck at home.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  11th March 2020

      They might have been there before the pandemic. And it hasn’t been really bad in Italy until recently.

      To me it makes sense to have a good supply of loo paper and other essentials; if I buy groceries online, it costs no more for delivery of a large amount than a small one and if I bulk buy, I don’t have to shop again for a long time.This saves time and money But the people who are filling trolleys with dunny paper are behaving very oddly. Are they also buying 6 months worth of groceries ?

      Reply
  9. Kitty Catkin

     /  11th March 2020

    Has anyone read the very obviously fake Nostradamus quote about Covid19 ?

    Reply
  10. Corky

     /  11th March 2020

    Talking of astrologers. Mine warned me. Blazer called him a nutter. Who’s the nutter now..huh?😏 Read and learn.

    https://yournz.org/2019/12/28/end-of-a-decade/#comment-390954

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  12th March 2020

      You mean this from Dec 29
      “Just had some bad news from my astrologer. He phoned me to say 2020 onwards will be the decade from hell with planetary conjunctions all over the place. He claims things will become worse from the 12th of January 2020.”

      What was the ‘prediction’ in Dec 2018 ?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  12th March 2020

        Much the same, I would imagine. The sort of thing that could mean anything so that he can’t be proved wrong as it’s so vague.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  12th March 2020

        ”What was the ‘prediction’ in Dec 2018 ?”

        Personal stuff. The 2019 prediction for 2020 stuck out because he rarely predicts global events. I don’t pay him for that, I use remote viewers. Instead of sending me my yearly report; he rung me personally to tell me things are real bad.

        Of course he’s not God, and as he says…the stars impel..they don’t compel. Mans intent and free will can override the stars. But, of course man’s intent is weak, so the stars compel.

        Does it annoy you, Duker, that I have knowledge you have no conception of? Best you stick with Kitty…I’m sure logical deduction will solve all you problems.😂

        All men have whiskers.
        Wally is a man.
        Wally has whiskers.

        Riverting stuff…no?

        Reply

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