The president of Italy’s Lombardy region announced that he will quarantine himself after discovering that one of his staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.
“A staff member of mine staff tested positive for coronavirus,” said Lombardy President Attilio Fontana on Wednesday. “So today we tested both myself and the rest of my team and, fortunately, we are currently negative.”
“For two weeks, I will try to live in a sort of self-isolation,” added the Lombardy president, who could be seen wearing a face mask while he addressed the public from Milan in a video on Facebook.
Milan is the capital of Lombardy — the most heavily infected region in all of Italy with 615 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Saturday evening.
“Today I have already spent the whole day wearing the mask as a precaution, and I will continue to do so in the next few days to avoid someone from getting infected by me if I ever become positive,” continued Fontana.
“So when you will see me like this in the next days, do not be frightened,” he added.
Fontana clashed with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte over the coronavirus crisis, accusing Rome of not listening to the presidents of Italian regions who had apparently suggested “about a month ago” that Italy take extra precautions due to the possibility of an outbreak in the nation.
Fontana’s criticism arrived on the heels of Conte’s announcement that an Italian hospital in Lombardy “did not follow protocol” and thus fostered the further spread of the coronavirus in Italy.
“The important thing is not to sink. With Conte, Italy is sinking,” said Matteo Salvini, former Italian deputy prime minister, according to Reuters, stressing the importance of returning to “normality.”
“This government team is not fit to handle normality, let alone an emergency,” he added.
Italy’s travel and tourism industry warned last week that it is expecting to lose at least €5 billion in tourism this year due to international fears over the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, which has so far resulted in 1,049 confirmed cases and 29 deaths, according to La Repubblica.
On Saturday, the U.S. State Department raised Italy to a Level 4 travel advisory, the highest of its four levels.