As Britain battles a second wave of coronavirus infections, lawmakers heard on Wednesday how Italy, the epicenter of the European coronavirus spread in February, managed to reverse the tide of the disease.
Italy’s response to the coronavirus outbreak was once considered too extreme, but one that is difficult since it helps suppress infection, a group of experts told the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Wednesday.
Britain, on the other hand, was too complacent and even now, was like the country face a growing threat, the measures are not strict enough.
Britain is now facing a second wave of the virus and more temporary restrictions in Italy seems to have escaped a major resurgence of the disease so far. As of Wednesday, Britain has nearly 5,000 cases, while Italy has 1,300.
The two countries have the same size population but the cultural gulf between the two countries has produced different epidemiological results, Professor Paolo Vineis, head of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Unit at the Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine, told lawmakers.
“The Italian response was seen as exaggerated and too family-oriented, but effective,” he said.
The country has not seen a major resurgence of cases since the lifting of the lockdown in June, as the Italian government used the shutdown period to strengthen the regional network of general practitioners and establish a strong contract tracking system, the professor said.
Italians are also broadly “compliant” with the ongoing coronavirus measures and many continue to wear masks, he added.
The contrast between the British and Italian responses is very different, Professor Luca Richeldi, Associate Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Modena agrees and a member of Italy’s strategic committee on Covid-19 agrees.
“If I have to give my honest opinion on the UK’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, I am very surprised,” he told lawmakers.