This past weekend, prime minister Giuseppe Conte has raised the state of alert in Italy by issuing a decree putting under quarantine 11 municipalities and the entire province of Lombardy. Last evening , Mr. Conte raised the alarm even further by putting all of Italy under quarantine. To the average Italian, this means that they cannot leave their province and travel elsewhere. If you are a temporary visitor, most airlines will not uplift you unless you have been quarantined for 14 days in a secure location. Mr. Conte has raised the “bar” by making it a criminal offense to try and circumvent any of these measures.
At 9:30pm yesterday evening, Mr. Conte was on the newscasts asking everyone (young and old) to remain in their homes and limit any excursions to necessary visits to grocery stores. It was amazing to watch a politician beseech his people to be governed by their conscience in limiting their activities and thus publicly admitting that there were not enough public resources to enforce these measures. We expect more safety measures as the Health Authorities monitor the efficacy of those taken.
Restaurants, pubs, bars, are now closed from 6pm to 6am as they were 2 weeks ago. Schools, cinemas, museums and theaters will remain closed until the 3rd of April. Finally, the Immigration Authorities and Police stations, dedicated to immigration activities, announced their closure as of last evening. As an immigration provider, the only thins we could say is “Finalmente“!
For our customers, this situation means enormous delays to their immigration process and its’ ramifications to settling in. Without a Permit of Stay (a consequence of fingerprinting and a visit to the Police Station), you cannot request residency. If you cannot request residency, you cannot sign up to the Italian Health System.
Already today, we are receiving information from the Police stations advising us of cancellations of appointments with new make-up dates. The delays are not extreme. In Milan, it seems that the rescheduling is done in a couple of months whereas in other cities the wait is only 1 month!
We are not in a position to be able to comment on whether Italy was lax in its initial security measures at the onset of this crisis. What we do know is that the Italian government is working hard to contain the emergency and will continue to enact precautionary measures. Aside from the monitoring of the statistics of the infected population, we can only hope that there are major improvement before the deadline of the 3rd of April.