Early COVID-19 pandemic response in Italy: Pros and cons

Nicola Magnavita,

Angelo Sacco,

Francesco Chirico


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy was one of the worst-affected European countries. The rapid surge of cases and the limited capacity of intensive care unit departments have posed a serious threat to the Italian national health system. In this paper we describe the first response and the main measures carried by Italian policy makers, as coordinated by a governmental committee of public health experts, which have succeeded in preventing the pandemic from turning into a disaster. Early closure of the school, quarantine measures and lockdown were put in place and the response of the population has been good overall.

Despite the Italian health care system of universal coverage is considered the second-best in the world, during phase 1, the Italian decentralisation and fragmentation of health services probably restricted timely interventions and effectiveness. In northern Italy, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Piedmont, and Veneto, which reported most of the Italian cases, carried out different strategies against COVID-19, with great differences in testing, quarantine, and public health procedures.

The improvement of the epidemiological situation has allowed an easing of the restrictive measures, with a progressive restarting of work activities. The government and technical-scientific bodies have prepared health strategies to support a possible second epidemic wave in the autumn.

Słowa kluczowe: COVID-19, Italy, health policy, pandemic, public health measures, policymakers, Włochy, polityka zdrowotna, pandemia, działania zdrowia publicznego, polityka publiczna

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