In the town of 16,000 located near the Po River about 60 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Milan, most everyone knows someone among the nearly 200 infected with the virus, or the 34 who have died.

When news went out this week that there had been zero new infections in the previous 24 hours, media hopes of eradication were exaggerated. But the trend appears to be real — and one of the reasons that led Premier Giuseppe Conte to impose a series of draconian new measures across the countries this week.

Five new infections were registered Wednesday, compared with 35 a day at the start of the outbreak, said Mayor Francesco Passerini, who like most people in the town wears a mask and who has mourned at a distance with friends who lost their fathers.

“It is a war. It is a war, but we have every possibility of winning,” Passerini said. “Unlike with our grandfathers, who went physically into battle for our freedom, we are being required to show responsibility — responsibility and calm.”