This article was first published in and we republish here with kind permission.



Italy has had (as at the 23/3) 5,476 deaths from the coronavirus 2,215 more than China where the virus has probably run its course. Italy has had 978 cases per million of population. From Italy the virus has spread quickly to other European States so that now Europe is the epicentre of this disease with approximately 165,000 cases. China has had 81,000. There is a strong correlation between EU boosted Chinese tourism and the European coronavirus crisis.


Italy has the second biggest national indebtedness in the world and its population is the second oldest in the world. Its health service has suffered for 20 years. At the centre of this outbreak in the North of Italy there is a large and growing Chinese population, boosted by continuing illegal Chinese immigration and a record number of Chinese tourists (deliberately boosted by an EU programme!)

The IMF has suggested that there’s an urgent need for an aid package of up to 700bn Euros to rescue Italy from economic collapse but the European Central Bank has largely run out of ammunition while the IMF itself exhausted much of its funds on Greece Spain, Portugal and Ireland as the disastrous Euro did its work! The EU Schengen Agreement allowing free unchecked movement between 26 EU states (but not the UK and Ireland) has further hindered control of this virus.

For all of these characteristics the European Union is responsible and the weakened state of not just Italy but the southern EU states in general leads the World Health Organisation to warn that Italy, Greece and Portugal will have the highest mortality rates from antimicrobial resistance.

Since Italy joined the EU driven imperial project – the Euro – in 1999 there has been virtually no growth at all in Italy. Debt is now at 134% of GDP – way past what is normally regarded as critical. 80% of Italian 15-24 year olds are unable to find full time work. There is an ongoing Italian banking crisis and, unable to get help from the EU, in April 2019 Italy signed up to the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” with trade and industrial agreements in energy, steel and gas and economic cooperation in trade, transport, infrastructure and connectivity.

As we showed in the last post, Italy was forced by the prison of the Euro to ‘devalue” internally – ie reduce costs – and the Italian fashion industry did so by importing Chinese cheap labour, especially to the textile workshops of the North which supply the famous Italian fashion houses. Illegal immigration continues unabated.

By the time these workers were imported the Euro’s devastation of the Italian economy meant young Italians had been forced to leave to seek work elsewhere in Europe and indeed beyond. Between 2006 and 2012 1.3m (mainly young) Italians went to live abroad. Emigration of the young has continued at a rate of about 130,000 a year. Families who have traditionally looked to the young for support in poverty, sickness or in health, have lost a social bulwark.

The Italian birth rate fell from 2007 to 2018 to less than 450,000, the worst level in 150 years. The Italian population is therefore overwhelmingly old and therefore vulnerable to a virus like this.


According to the World Health Organisation Italy has the second best health service in the world. That is the theory. But in the last 20 years, as the Euro took its toll on the economy and social and health care suffered (as elsewhere in the southern member states of the EU) the number of Italian public hospitals shrank from 566 to 431 by about 15%.

Even worse between 2000 and 2017 the number of hospital beds collapsed from 268,057 to 192,548 units. That is 3.18 beds per one thousand people. Germany and France who hold the Eurozone purse strings had respectively 8 beds per thousand and 5.98 beds per thousand. So much for EU solidarity.


The first coronavirus cases in the USA, Italy, Singapore and the UK were either Chinese tourists or those infected by Chinese tourists. There is no doubt where the virus started – in Hubei province in China where even today 85% of all Chinese cases have been.

The European Union has had a programme of Chinese tourist promotion in the last two years and millions of Chinese have descended upon Europe. In 2019 Wuhan was the 10th biggest source city for Chinese tourists in Europe.

The countries with the biggest boost in such tourist numbers were (with the number of cases of coronavirus and the cases per one million population):

Spain                                    28,768                      615

Italy,                                      59,138                      978

Germany,                              24,873                      297

France                                    16,018                      245

Switzerland                            7,474                       864

Denmark                                1,395                       241

Switzerland with the second highest cases per million was the country which saw the biggest growth rate in Chinese tourism.

In China the cases rate has been only 56 per million.


As I write this post I note a slight improvement in the situation in Europe. Comparing today (23/3) with yesterday 8 European countries have seen a slowing in the number of new coronavirus cases – Norway, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

I have no doubt the tide will turn in Europe soon and the stock markets will recover in a dramatic way. The toll on Government finances is an entirely different matter!

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