There are continued concerns of the COVID-19 situation in Italy although fewer than last week. In the province of Lombardy, we have fewer Red areas subject to quarantine and a greater number of designated Yellow areas. However, the alert remains high. Last week schools, churches, museums and fun places like coffee bars were closed . This week there have been limitations imposed on the number of people that can enter these public places and a bizarre fact is that coffee bars are now open but only to those customers that are consuming their fare sitting down.
This week there was more traffic than last week as one went to work. As such, we performed a brief survey with our customer company’s. The result was that fewer companies are pursuing the concept of “Smart Working” (working at home with your computer) but the greater traffic could also be that last week was a holiday week or Carnival. Aside from the holiday week, our survey reveals that although many companies have opened this week the concept of “Smart Working” is being extended to their managerial staff or “non-essential personnel”.
It would seem that the Italians are confused as to the seriousness of this disease and are haphazard in the measures that should be taken. However, I would argue that the information that the media is choosing to present to the public is deleterious and giving the impression that we are inconsistent in our logic. For example, this past Sunday a news station reported on the persisting Italian habit of greeting each other with a “hug and a kiss”. As I watched it, I laughed, enjoyed the levity of the moment but I wasn’t fooled. The authorities, businesses, individual people are very concerned! We are very conscious that we must contain this virus on our territory or at least give the medical community the time to produce an adequate vaccine.
In conclusion, Italy’s safety measures may seem irrational but in reality the focus has now changed from that of last week with the keyword being “Containment”.