Flights blocked for the virus. But 100 thousand passengers have already arrived in Italy

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It is not the moment of controversy, if anything of the emergency management, but one fact gives us to think: the people who arrived in Italy from China since the Coronavirus made its appearance (in early December, despite the fact that China has admitted the existence only in January) to date there could be at least 100 thousand. There are no official data at the moment, but a quick calculation is possible. Considering an average of 7 direct flights from China to Italy per day, with around 250 passengers each, the calculation is quickly done. To these are added those who arrived by taking airplanes that have landed in other cities and arrived with companies such as Finnair, Lufthansa, British, Qatar, Ethiad.

Of course there is only that at least 2,300 those who came to our country directly from Wuhan, the city from which the infection started and which is now armored. From the Farnesina official data do not arrive, calculations are being made at the Ministry of the Interior, but sources close to the various airport managements are certain: they are thousands. That there was therefore a delay in handling the emergency is clear. The flights may have had to be stopped much earlier, that is, in the immediacy of the moment when it was learned that this was a potentially global epidemic.

Infectious disease specialists speak of risk only for people who already have a complex clinical picture: elderly people over 75 with severe respiratory and health problems, mostly, but also infants already at risk for other causes. But it is not the disease itself that worries, because in a healthy subject it can eventually have the same reaction as other similar influences, such as Sars, if anything, just the ease of contagion among the population that can lead every single person to infect even hundreds if you come into contact with it. That’s why, perhaps, the flights had to be stopped earlier.

In the meantime, precautions are taken at airports throughout Italy. The staff at the controls, even if it is optional and the choice is personal, has masks available and the advice that comes from ministerial circulars is to wash your hands often and take all measures to avoid contagion. But there is fear and in the largest airports for days hundreds of people have been seen circulating with their mouths covered, who run away from the sight of the Chinese. It is the result of the generalized panic that comes from the lack of information, from measures perhaps taken late and from a blockage of flights to and from China which took place only the day before yesterday, as announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Looking at the numbers, however, the concern grows. In 2019 670 thousand Chinese arrived in Italy, or at least 55 thousand a month. Twenty thousand only in the capital, a city that is best connected with China and among the most visited by citizens of that country. It is no coincidence that the first two cases of people infected with coronavirus are found in Rome. These are two Chinese who were staying at the Palatino hotel in via Cavour and who are now in the Spallanzani hospital, fortunately on the mend.

The question, however, is: how many other cases are there in Italy given the high number of subjects who have also arrived from Wuhan in the last thirty days? Many of them could be contagious and asymptomatic and, therefore, the emergency could become something more important and difficult to manage even for an organized country like Italy.



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