Milan is a ticking Covid-19 'bomb' now people, expert warns

Milan is a ticking Covid-19 ‘bomb’ now people are free to move about after lockdown, expert warns

  • Virologist Massimo Galli gave warning as many flocked to canals to enjoy drinks 
  • Milan is in the northern Lombardy region that has logged some 15,000 deaths
  • Italy loosened some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in Europe on Monday
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Milan is a ticking Covid-19 ‘bomb’ now people are free to move about after lockdown, an expert has warned.   

Massimo Galli, the head of the infectious diseases department at the Sacco hospital in Milan, issued the warning as the city’s mayor blasted revellers for gathering along the city’s canal to enjoy an aperitif in the sunshine.

Milan is in the northern Lombardy region that has logged some 15,000 deaths, around half of Italy’s 30,000 coronavirus fatalities, since the outbreak first erupted in early March.  

‘Milan is a bit of a bomb. We have a very high number of infected people returning to circulation,’ Galli said in an interview with the Repubblica newspaper, referring to the easing of lockdown measures on May 4.

Milan is a ticking Covid-19 ‘bomb’ now people are free to move about after lockdown, an expert has warned. Pictured: a food market in Milan yesterday 

Milan is in the northern Lombardy region that has logged some 15,000 deaths, around half of Italy’s 30,000 coronavirus fatalities, since the outbreak first erupted in early March. Pictured: police officers patrol Sempione public park in Milan yesterday 

Galli said it was clear the easing of the lockdown ‘may present problems’. 

Television footage taken by the canals in the Navigli area show many people not wearing masks or respecting social distances rules. They were splashed across the front pages of Italy’s main dailies this morning. 

Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala slammed the canal-side behaviour as ‘shameful’ and threatened to close the well-known aperitif area if people persist in flouting the rules.    

Italy loosened some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in Europe on Monday, allowing many businesses to re-open and giving people more freedom to move about.

Passengers wearing face masks travel on the subway in Milan, northern Italy today after some lockdown measures were eased

But authorities have insisted that strict social distancing measures must still be respected. 

‘Yesterday’s images from along the Navigli were disgraceful,’ Mayor Sala said in one of his regular online messages from his office in the city centre.

‘Either things change today, or tomorrow I’ll be here in Palazzo Marino and I’ll pass measure to close the Navigli, I’ll stop takeaway services and then you can explain to the people who work in bars why the mayor isn’t allowing them to do business,’ he said.

‘This isn’t a game, we can’t allow this in a city of 1.4 million inhabitants,’ he added.

Sala’s comments reflect the deep concern among Italian authorities that the staged end to a lockdown imposed in early March could lead to a renewed flare-up in the epidemic if careful social distancing measures are not respected.

In a news conference in Rome the head of the National Health Institute, Silvio Brusaferro also warned that the epidemic was not over and called for responsible behaviour.

‘The virus hasn’t changed its identity, it’s transmitted in the same way … if we form gatherings and break the rules that have given our health system some breathing space then this will allow it to circulate again,’ Brusaferro said.

Italy loosened some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in Europe on Monday, allowing many businesses to re-open and giving people more freedom to move about. Pictured: a busy Cardona train station in Milan this week 

Despite the easing of some measures, authorities have insisted that strict social distancing measures must still be respected. Pictured: commuters at Cardona train station in Milan this week

Italy, now facing its worst recession since World War Two, has been among the worst affected countries in the world by the virus.

The government, desperate to get as many companies back to work as possible, planned a staged re-opening of the economy with factories and construction sites opened this week and shops allowed to open from May 18.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to sell food and drinks to take away but will not be allowed to re-open fully until June.

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