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Italy: Constant communication helps us understand pulse of the expats

Filed on June 18, 2020 | Last updated on June 18, 2020 at 01.46 am
Valentina Setta, Consul-General, Italian Consulate Dubai

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Italy very hard. With more than 230,000 cases and almost 34,000 casualties, Italy was the first European country to face this unprecedented emergency, and has been on the frontline of this fight since the early days of March. It has been the worst healthcare crisis in the last century, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak being right in the heart of the one of the most productive and economically developed regions of Italy and Europe. The eventual lockdown was the only option to contain the spread of coronavirus, but it also deeply affected our economy. 

At the moment, Italy is in the so-called 'Phase-2', which implies the gradual reopening of offices, factories, shops and touristic facilities with sanitary precautions and social distancing. An extensive recovery plan was adopted by the Italian Government in order to support the economy and ease the effects of the crisis. In particular, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy (MOFA) recently launched a Euro 1.4 billion plan to support exports aimed to sustain 'Made in Italy' products across the world.

In the UAE, meanwhile, the Italian community was also deeply affected by the lockdown that included the slowing down of the local economy as well with the closure of hotels, restaurants and malls to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

During the last three months, the General Consulate has been on its toes with all kinds of emergencies, as well as the repatriation of stranded tourists and citizens who lost their jobs and were not able to stay longer in the country.

The Italian Consulate General repatriated more than 1,000 Italians, which, for our community of 15,000, is a relevant figure. Unfortunately, many more are now facing layoffs and salary cutbacks that are forcing them to leave the country or relocate their families back to Italy in order to cut down on expenses.

Along with the Italian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Italian Trade Agency in Dubai, we have organised many webinars with our fellow Italians in different economic sectors to get the pulse of the situation and understand better how we can help the expats in the UAE.

The Italian Trade Agency also organised a webinar for companies located both here and in Italy that was attended by more than 680 participants. A clear sign of the interest Italian companies have towards the UAE and trust that the reopening of the economic activities in the UAE will bring a fast recovery and open new possibilities.

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