February 26 ------ Italian container terminal operator Contship Italia Group announced that terminal operations in La Spezia (LSCT), Ravenna (TCR) and Melzo (RHM), as well as all intermodal transport services run by Hannibal and Oceanogate Italia, continue to operate as normal. The announcement is being issued amid a rapid increase of coronavirus cases in Northern Italy recorded last week. Based on the latest information from Italy’s Department of Civil Protection, dated February 24, 229 people have been infected with the coronavirus. Six deaths have been confirmed. “Contship Italia Group will continue to monitor the evolving situation and issue updates when necessary,” the company said.
A WHO-led team of experts from the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) arrived in Italy on Monday, to support Italian authorities in understanding the situation. “While limited local person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in countries outside of China was expected, the rapid increase in reported cases in Italy over the past two days is of concern. However, it should also be noted that based on current data, in the majority of cases (4 out of every 5) people experience mild or no symptoms,” WHO said in an announcement.
Health authorities in Italy are implementing measures to prevent onward transmission, including the closing of schools and bars and canceling of sports events and other mass gatherings in the areas affected. This aligns with the containment strategy currently being implemented globally in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. “It is vital that we treat patients with dignity and compassion, put measures in place to prevent onward transmission, and protect health workers,” commented Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “WHO stands by the Government of Italy in its efforts and commitment to mitigate this outbreak and manage the cases effectively. Now is the time for solidarity and cooperation, to work together to protect everyone’s health,” added Kluge.
WHO urges the public, governments, and media to prevent the ongoing rise in the stigmatization of coronavirus patients. “People are being labeled, stereotyped, separated, and/or experience loss of status and discrimination because of a potential negative affiliation with the disease,” WHO said. “Such barriers could potentially contribute to more severe health problems, ongoing transmission, and difficulties controlling infectious diseases during an infectious disease outbreak. (…) We all need to be intentional and thoughtful when communicating on social media and other communication platforms, showing supportive behaviors around COVID-19.”