Rome, Feb 26 (IANS) Italy’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday decried a “worrying proliferation of inaccurate and alarmist news” on the coronavirus epidemic in the country and claimed the government had moved swiftly to contain the outbreak.
“We are witnessing a worrying proliferation of inaccurate and alarmist news on the health situation in our country that does not reflect the reality of a contagion phenomenon that remains significantly limited to some small areas restricted to a few regions,” said a statement.
“The Italian government’s response to the Covid-19 emergency was timely, as recognized by the World Health Organisation and the European Union,” it added.
The statement said that the Foreign Ministry began on Tuesday to send a daily coronavirus report to embassies and consulates around the world.
“This is to give accurate and transparent information on the true impact of the coronavirus in Italy including precise data and the clearly defined areas that we continue to monitor,” the statement said.
The coronavirus outbreak in Italy — one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations — has killed 12 people and infected over 370 people.
After South Korea, Italy has the highest number of coronavirus infections outside China. Almost all the Italian cases have been in the most industrialised northern Lombardy and Veneto regions.
Some 70 per cent of trips to Italy have been cancelled over coronavirus fears, the Italian Federation of Travel Companies and Tourism (Fiavet) said on Wednesday. It urged Italy’s Foreign, Culture and Transport Ministries to rapidly adopt emergency measures to help the sector.
The government’s ban in late January on all commercial flights to and from China – epicentre of the coronavirus – and a ban this week on school trips were hitting the travel sector hard, Fiavet said.