Over the past months, Coronavirus has had a strong impact on Italy and the whole world, and certainly also on the lives of each one of us.

With this article you can learn more on:

  • How you can protect yourself from Covid-19
  • What are the symptoms
  • Where to get support if you don’t feel well
  • Where to find useful and fiable information

As of December 7, 67,454,385 positive cases were confirmed across the world, with cases in all 196 countries and territories. You can monitor the worldwide situation here.

After a first wave in March, Italy is now facing a second important increase in cases. For this reason, it is important to continue to follow the rules to avoid the spread of the virus.

As of December 7, in Italy 1,728,878 cases tested positive. So far 913,494 people recovered from the virus, while 60,078 affected people did not make it – most of which were affected by some pre-existing medical conditions and over the age of 70.

However, the severity of the virus varies from person to person regardless of age, so we all need to protect ourselves and the people around us.

Watch the video to learn more about the virus.

How can I protect myself?

The video below illustrates some basic measure from the WHO to protect ourselves and others from getting the Coronavirus.

You can find more useful guidelines by clicking here.

Along with the WHO, also the Italian Ministry of Health shared some tips to limit the risk of contagion among the population in the country:

1) Wash your hands often with soap and water OR alcohol based hand gel

2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands

3) If you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose, or sneeze in your elbow

4) Don’t take antiviral or antibiotic drugs unless prescribed by a doctor

5) Clean surfaces with disinfectants based on alcohol

6) Use a face mask to reduce the spread of infection in the community.

7) Respect social distancing, and avoid getting close to anyone who is sick. Ensure a physical distance of at least 1,5 metre from others. Also make sure you ensure good ventilation of indoor spaces, including homes and offices

8) Download Immuni. This app uses technology to alert the users who have had a risky exposure - even if they are asymptomatic. You can download it here.

Other useful resources

You can find more fiable guidelines by the WHO here.

Along with the WHO, also the Italian Ministry of Health produced and updated an FAQ section on Coronavirus. Click here to learn more.

You can find more information about COVID-19 in 26 languages on IOM's website.

Il Grande Colibrì has gathered some basic information about Coronavirus in more than 40 languages and dialects. Visit their website here.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, dry cough, muscle pain, lack of appetite, and loss of taste or smell. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

This virus mainly causes respiratory symptoms. This can range from symptoms similar to a common cold – runny nose, cough, to fever, and shortness of breath. Some people can develop pneumonia and some people can develop severe difficulties with breathing, multi-organ failure and even death. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

Asymptomatic COVID infected people may still pass the virus on to others.

Covid-19 Symptoms

From studies that have been done so far on this new virus, we see that the vast majority of people infected (around 82%) have mild disease. 14% develop severe disease, and around 5% are critically unwell with the virus.

We have seen people of all ages infected – we’ve seen newborns infected, children, adults, pregnant women and older people. Older people and those with pre-existing medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness, and are at a higher risk of dying.

About 2% of people with the disease have died. This means for every 100 cases, approximately 2 of them are at risk of dying. This is a new virus and as such, we are still learning what the exact case fatality rate is.

What should I do if I don't feel well?

If you have fever (above 37,5º), cough and difficulty breathing, you must stay at home. If you don't feel well it's important you seek medical care early. However, this does not mean you should go right away to the doctor!

As the virus is highly contagious, the Italian authorities recommend you call one of the following toll-free numbers – in order to limit and prevent transmission of the virus to others:

Toll-free numbers

More regional toll-free numbers can be found here.

You can also call your family doctor, or 'medico di base' in Italian. If you do not have one, you can call the +393510221390, a multilingual helpline made available by Médecins du Monde. You can call Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. They answer in Italian, English and French, but also offer translations in Albanian, Arabic, Amharic, Bangla, and Tigrinya.

You can visit the Italian Ministry of Health website to get updates on the situation.

If you have any more questions about the virus have a look at the Q&A section on the WHO website.