only 4 patients. It was the first anti-Covid center


It is February 3, when the 56 Italians of Wuahn cross the entrance of the Olympic center of the army of Cecchignola, in the capital. After 4 months, the structure in Italy, which first faced the Covid-19 emergency, returns to normal. A good omen. Next week, the last 4 patients housed in the center will mark the conclusion of an initial phase of Cecchignola use. In short, no demobilization, a word hated by the military. But a return to the origins for a structure designed to accommodate athletes. Obviously the option that no one hopes for, that of a new surge of contagions, could lead to open the doors of the army’s Olympic center.

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Coronavirus, in Rome from June 3 checks in stations and airports. D’Amato: «Defending Rome». Five new cases, 7 in Lazio

On 3 February two buses pass the entrance of the army center in southern Rome. Inside are the 56 Italians just landed at the Pratica di Mare airport by a Boeing 767 kc. The air force plane had gone to pick them up in Wuahn, a Chinese city of 11 million inhabitants, the epicenter of the Coronavirus.
The whole country is following repatriation with apprehension. The Italians observe their compatriots as if they were extraterrestrials, as if the whole affair concerned them only by viewers or newspaper readers. They wear masks and gloves. Under the motto of “we don’t leave anyone behind” the 56 are brought back by the Asian giant while the Covid-19 seems far away. A Chinese question, at most to be relegated to the Asian continent. In fact, the virus had already started walking in northern Italy. Outside the facility journalists and relatives of the quarantenates, the measure foresees 14 days of isolation, they try to meet a glance from behind the gate of the center, manned by the soldiers. To be able to exchange even a word with one of the 56.
4 months have passed but the global contagion, which became the growing number, first epidemic and then pandemic, has given history such a speed that it is difficult to place the case of the Italians of Wuahn on 3 February. In the meantime, in fact, the case of the Diamond Princess explodes, the cruise ship moored in the bay of Yokohama in Japan, with 35 Italians on board. Another plane with 8 Italians lands in Pratica di Mare. These are just the premises. La Cecchignola disappears from the information radars while on February 23 the lodigiano becomes a red zone. Isolated. A sort of anticipation of the lockdown that falls on March 11 across the country. Italy closes, to go out everyone wears masks and gloves, just like the Italians of Wuahn.
At Cecchignola we continue to work tirelessly. The structure partially changes its structure. The center no longer welcomes only patients to be quarantined but also those who have contracted the virus in a mild form. In total, more than 340 people are assisted and treated, including 284 positive. Not a single soldier, of the 27 employees, contracts the disease: 3 doctors of critical area, 8 nurses, 4 health workers and 12 people oriented to logistic support who have worked tirelessly. The Army Logistics Command, and the General Staff, develop a perfect machine. The Spallanzani hospital itself, excellence in the treatment of infectious diseases, when the beds for the Covid-19 are scarce, turns to Cecchignola in the awareness of the professionalism of the army’s health.
The same structure lends itself, in fact, to isolation, an indispensable condition to prevent the virus from jumping from person to person: 110 beds, rooms with bathroom.
Now 4 patients remain. By mid-June the whole machine should stop and the center will have to be completely sanitized. The hope is that you return to its original functions, to welcome athletes. The hypothesis not to be excluded is a stand by, in the event of a second wave of infections.
Giuseppe Scarpa


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