MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Italy has not discussed closing its state borders until the end of 2020, the Italian embassy in Russia informed TASS on Monday due to the reports in various Russian media outlets of an alleged statement of intent by Italian officials.
"The matter of Italy closing its state borders has not been discussed," the embassy stated.
The embassy pointed out that in an interview published in La Repubblica newspaper on April 25, Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism Dario Franceschini said that "the future of this issue will depend on how the epidemiological situation develops and on the decisions of separate states."
"So far, it is hard to plan the renewal of international tourist flow to Italy in the near future, which is why our country will have to concentrate more on domestic tourism, encouraging its citizens to get acquainted with Italian places of interest," the embassy explained. "Naturally, we hope that tourist trips to Italy from other states will resume as soon as possible: Russians have always had a special love for Italy, traditionally choosing Italy as their holiday destination."
The local outbreak of the novel coronavirus was detected in Italy on February 21 in the north of the country, where the highest number of infections and deaths has been recorded. The number of people infected with the virus in Italy has reached 197,675, of whom over 26,644 have died and over 65,000 have recovered.
Italy introduced a strict quarantine starting March 10. Schools and other educational facilities have been closed, along with museums, theaters, cinemas, bars and restaurants. The country suspended the production of non-basic necessities on March 22. The restrictive measures are in place until May 3. International tourism has been suspended.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 3,000,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 207,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 882,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.