Should Canada be following Italy’s lead?

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Graphic by Jamie Mere

On March 4, 2020 it was announced that Italy was going to be shutting down schools nationwide as a way to help slow the growing of the coronavirus outbreak.

As of March 3, 2020, the virus had infected more than 3,000 people within the country and has killed at least 107. This is what triggered the government to shut down all schools, universities and daycares until at least March 15.

Italy isn’t the only country in the European Union taking measures regarding the epidemic. France has also closed 120 schools in the areas that are most impacted.

While children are not currently seen as an at risk demographic for the virus, there are still many aspects about the virus that scientists do not know – particularly how it is spread. So European governments are being proactive in their measures to try to slow the rate of infections.

Italy is seen as an older population as well, which means that a lot of their citizens are at risk of contracting the virus.

On March 9, 2020 it was announced that the entire country was going to be put under lock-down, after the number of infections hit 9,172 and has taken the lives of 463 people.

The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has urged people to stay home and has banned all public gatherings including weddings, sports games and all night life activities.

Conte has also stated that the internal travel ban that Italy put in place early this month has now extended from covering certain cities to the entire country – from not just international travel but domestic as well. This shut-down has also extended the school closures until April 3, 2020.

The only reason for one to go to another city is for emergencies, and one could face fines and up to three months in jail as a punishment for breaking quarantine rules.

It is scary for me to hear about all of these quarantine rules because, in my mind, I now know that the coronavirus is a huge threat. Italy is a place where I have actually been, so maybe that also has something to do with me feeling more scared.

This reality for Italians is something that could very well happen to Canadians as well. I know my mom wants to stock up on some items just in case a quarantine event takes place. But I don’t think we should necessarily feel scared until it gets to that point for us.

Canada has had 74 confirmed infections as of March 9 — 34 of which are from Ontario — but out of those 74, the country has only seen 1 death. The Ministry of Health has stated that the risk for Ontario residents remains low, but they are preparing just in case.

We should not be allowing this virus to currently affect our lives. We should be taking precautions to ensure we stay healthy, like washing our hands for at least twenty seconds, not touching our faces and staying home if we feel sick, although we should be doing things like that on a normal day.

Honestly, the best thing we can do to potentially stop a quarantine from happening is to be aware of your own health – as your health now doesn’t only impact you but now the country as a whole.

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