The first case of COVID-19 appeared in Italy on January 30th. A couple of Chinese tourists coming from Wuhan via Beijing were admitted to Spallanzani Hospital in Rome, highly specialised in infectious diseases.
The same day, the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza announced an air traffic embargo for flights coming to Italy from any Chinese city, including the autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau, in an attempt to block the spread of the infection.
In the days following the hospitalisation of the Chinese couple in Rome, a few new cases were detected in a group of Italians who were repatriated from the Wuhan region. Experts started to sigh in relief as all cases came from abroad and no local contagion seemed to show up.
The Alarm in the Middle of the Night
Then, quite abruptly, on February 20th at midnight, the Councillor for Welfare in Lombardy, Giulio Gallera, announced that Mattia, a 38-year-old Italian from the small city of Codogno, in Lombardy, was hospitalised for a severe case of atypical pneumonia and tested positive for coronavirus. He had not travelled to China nor had any contact with people coming from Asia. …..more