The coronavirus outbreak has created a panic situation in Italy and ignited tensions among the inmates across the country. Several parts of Italy have been under complete lockdown after the coronavirus cases and fatalities witnessed a dramatic rise within a week. Several collective prison breaks were attempted across Italy as tensions soared.
The overcrowded prisons of Italy pose a major risk with severe health and logistical challenges. Under the measures taken against the coronavirus outbreak, prison administrations have implemented restriction including a ban on visitors and leave permits. On March 9, dozens of prisoners managed to escape after a collective prison break in Foggia, in the southern region of Apulia.
According to media reports, at least six inmates, jailed in the Saint Anna penitentiary in Modena, died in prison riots after they protested over their treatment during the outbreak. Italy has been worst-hit by the virus which has now been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The European nation has reported more than 12,000 cases with the death toll rising to 827.
On March 11, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus as pandemic which has forced governments to take drastic measures to contain the disease. Speaking at a press briefing, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern about alarming levels of spread and severity and alarming levels of inaction.
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said Ghebreyesus.
The WHO chief cautioned against using the word carelessly to cause unreasonable fear or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over. Ghebreyesus added that the UN health agency has rung the alarm bell loud and clear and urged countries to take urgent and aggressive action.
“If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission,” he said.