Covid-19 in Europe: Codogno, the Italian city where it all started

The name Codogno may not sound familiar, but the city in the northern Italian region of Lombardy was the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe. The first cases of coronavirus were detected there at the beginning of February 2020. Just over a year later, our correspondents returned to Codogno to take stock of how the city is doing.

In February 2020, after the first Covid-19 cases were discovered in Codogno, their infection rates increased sharply, followed quickly by deaths. The northern Italian city had become the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe. It was speculated that the virus came from people who had visited China, but the identity of patient zero was never confirmed.

Face masks became the norm, roadblocks were put in place, schools were closed and lockdowns were imposed. Trains no longer stopped at Codogno station and extra measures were taken at regional airports. Yet the virus spread. Lombardy, the first region in Europe to be affected by the coronavirus, paid a high price, with tens of thousands of lives lost.

Now, more than a year later, the vaccination campaign is gaining momentum. The number of cases is slowly declining, as are the number of hospital admissions and daily deaths. As the situation begins to look more optimistic, let’s take a look at how the pandemic affected the lives of those in Europe who first experienced it. Our Italy correspondents Louise Malnoy, Lorenza Pensa and Natalia Mendoza report from Codogno.

The vaccine center in Codogno. © FRANCE 24

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