How the coronavirus led to a lockdown in Italy
Today is our third day of total and complete lockdown. A few days back all of Italy became a “red zone”: everyone should have been at home minimizing contact with others. This was basically respected, but as restaurants and other businesses were open during the day until 6 PM people were still out and about trying to hang on to remnants of their daily life.
Two days ago the number of coronavirus cases was at 10,000. Yesterday - just two days later - total cases increased 50% to over 15,000. The Italian government has now put more draconian measures into place: all commercial establishments are closed with the exception of pharmacies and grocery stores.
Before commercial enterprises were forced to close, authorities visited restaurants with a tape measure to ensure that people were keeping an adequate distance from one another: even restaurants with only a few tables occupied.
The Italian government has said that our weak economy will probably become even weaker, but that the government’s priority must be the well-being of the population and not the economy. Every single person in Italy who needs a coronavirus test can get one and, if need be, subsequent coronavirus treatment. And that pertains to everyone including illegal immigrants. No one in this country is afraid they won’t be cared for: a right that every human being on the planet should have.
The lockdown is supposed to ensure Italians maintain extreme social distancing, and thus less contagion. This will hopefully ease the pressure on the already overextended national health system that’s under pressure with existing coronavirus patients.
Leaving your home during the lockdown
The morning after the new measures were announced citizens received a certificate in their mailboxes to be filled out each time anyone leaves their home explaining when and why.
When you go to the grocery store only one person within a family unit can enter at a time plus the total number of people in the grocery store at a time is limited to ten - normally a few hundred people are in our mega grocery store simultaneously. Everyone has to maintain a 2 meter distance from one another. This morning I got to my grocery store just past 7 AM and there was already a line.
Apparently UK citizens are stockpiling - mostly toilet paper. Italians, by contrast, are stockpiling flour and eggs. After all life without pasta for Italians would be dismal indeed! Pasta shelves were quite empty today.
Businesses like Amazon are still out making deliveries. Yesterday I ordered big sacks of dog food and they were delivered by a man with an N 95 mask and gloves, and he kept himself well at a distance from me.
Staying active and positive under quarantine
It’s important to find ways to stay active each and every day during the coronavirus lockdown in Italy so that you don’t slip into a state of melancholy, and quit being productive.
I get out daily for a 10,000 step walk along my country road and it’s more or less deserted. I have a certificate in my pocket – required by law – that states my address and exactly where I will be walking.
When I was out walking I noticed that a lot of the homes had a drawing like this one hanging on the door. My guess is that a teacher asked students to draw this rainbow to keep them active and positive. "tutto andrà bene" : All will be fine!
Today at 6 PM Italians nationwide are encouraged to open up their window, step out on their balcony or outside their front door and sing or play the Italian national anthem, Fratelli d'Italia as a show of solidarity and optimism.
I hoped to get into the center of Rome to take advantage of the unique photo ops within a nearly deserted city, but as it turns out that is no longer possible. Everyone has been told to remain at home. If you happen to be in the center of Rome for whatever reason get outside with your camera or cell phone and snap pictures: you will probably never be able to capture them again! It’s also a great way to remain active, especially if you live in an apartment. This is the time to take advantage of the extreme beauty the Eternal City has to offer. Stroll along the deserted streets that you’ll robably never have the chance to see uncrowded again. True, you can’t visit inside any monuments or museums but the city itself is a wealth and abundance of beauty.
Do your best to see the positive side of this forced moment of quietude and peace for reflection. It’s a time to catch up on reading, sort out closets, work in the garden or do some overlooked reading and film watching.
They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb and that’s usually the case in Italy too. Maybe it’s because of climate change, or maybe it’s just sheer luck or divine intervention but Italy is undergoing never ending temperate, beautiful weather. Fruit trees are blossoming and flower-bulbs are poking up through the dirt to reveal signs of optimism and rebirth. It’s a reminder that this coronavirus lockdown in Italy will pass and life will return to normality.
And if you are not in Rome or Italy because your trip has been canceled use this time to do some in-depth trip planning. Visit Rome virtually: I’ll post some beautiful virtual tours of gorgeous spots in Rome.
Stay safe my friends and use this time to focus on peace and relaxation.