“If Milan falls, the health system of Lombardy falls.”
The mayor of the financial capital of Italy warns of the “economic epidemic” that is causing the coronavirus
With its more than 1.4 million inhabitants, Milan is the great concern of the Italian health authorities in the coronavirus pandemic. The nearby Bergamo and Brescia, both medium-sized cities, are the territories hardest hit by COVID-19, but the Lombard capital has so far escaped registering a high number of infected people. “We have suffered less than Bergamo or Brescia. Of the 46,000 cases in the Lombardy region, in the province of Milan, there are 10,000 and some 5,000 in the city. We keep telling people to stay home because the battle is not over. If Milan falls, the entire Lombard health system falls, this is quite evident, “said Giuseppe Sala, the mayor of the economic capital from Italy, in a telematic meeting held this Thursday with various international media, including this newspaper.
The coronavirus pandemic already exceeds 115,000 infected in Italy, of which more than 18,000 have been cured, and about 14,000 have died. In the last 24 hours, 4,600 new infected and 760 deaths were registered, data in line with the previous days. “The values show that we are stabilizing,” said Angelo Borrelli, head of Civil Protection and special commissioner for this emergency. The actual death toll could, however, be much higher. In Milan, those who died last March were 76% more than in the same period the previous year and 78% more than in March 2018. It is feared that many of those deaths are caused by the coronavirus, although they have not been recorded in the official statistics of the pandemic. “Unfortunately we are also giving our contribution,” admitted Sala.
The situation is dangerous. People must prepare for a challenging and long phase until there is no vaccine. After some restrictions are lifted, they may need to be re-established if a failure occurs. The Milanese are going through an epidemic from health, but that is also economical, “said the councilman of the country’s financial capital, warning that the City Council increasingly receives more requests for help from the population although the coffers Municipalities have fewer funds. At real estate example, this year up to 13,000 million euros in investments were expected, which have largely disappeared. The same is true of tourism. In 2019 there were 10 million visitors to the Lombard capital, while in 2020 they will probably stay a tenth.
Thinking already of the next phase of the pandemic, Sala offered Milan as a pilot city for the use of a mobile application similar to that used in South Korea that allows controlling the movements of people and improving the prevention of infections. “I am very favourable, provided that privacy is respected and is voluntary,” said Sala, who predicted that returning to work when cases begin to fall could be staggered by age. “People younger than 50, who have more resistance to the disease, may have to start earlier.”
A member of the Democratic Party (centre left), Sala agreed with the regulation of immigrants who work in the agricultural sector to guarantee the food supply, as proposed by the Mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori. “It is not about being more or less good, but about protecting the economic and social fabric of the country,” explained the alderman of Milan. The League put the cry in the sky at this proposal. The leader of that party, Matteo Salvini, also attacked the EU, assuring that, in this crisis, the Italians are receiving from Brussels “many words and smoke, but zero substance”.