'Lock it down and stay at home': How an Italian town beat COVID-19
Updated 02:59, 25-Mar-2020
Tim Hanlon

A lockdown coupled with extensive testing for COVID-19 is the way to beat the virus, says Andrea Crisanti - a professor who was part of a pilot study that saw coronavirus banished from an Italian town.

Italy has been worst hit by the outbreak of the virus with more than 4,000 deaths so far and the public health system has been stretched beyond its limits with new cases. An experiment in a small town in the north east of Italy, though, has given reason for hope in tackling coronavirus.

Vo, a town of 3,000 people near Venice, saw the virus practically eradicated in less than two weeks after having the first death from it in Italy. This was done by isolating clusters, quarantining everyone affected and tracing contacts, who were also put in isolation - whether or not they had symptoms.

'Lock it down and stay at home'

Crisanti, who specializes in molecular parasitology at London's Imperial College, was part of a team from the University of Padua and the Red Cross who carried out the pilot test.

He told CGTN: "The best thing that you can do is lock down the area: nobody enters, nobody leaves and you do as many tests on people as you can.

"Maybe you can't do everyone but at least you have an idea of the prevalence of the disease there and you can take further measures.”

Crisanti's advice for authorities tackling COVID-19 is to adopt the strategy of "follow the virus" that involves going to the homes of people with symptoms and tracing their friends so that you "progressively reduce the transmission."

His message for people in Europe, whether they have symptoms or not, is simple: stay at home. He said: "People need to stay at home, this is to everyone, comply with the directives and avoid social contact as much as you can."

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