Almost two weeks into Lockdown in Italy for the terrible corona virus and more weeks to go. At the moment lockdown was due to end on the 3rd April but the situation is still critical, numbers continue to rise and it is likely for weeks more. Deaths are now more than China and the military have been called in to set up temporary hospitals at Milan Fair and here in Florence, and control the streets in some areas. A grim scene of military trucks taking away bodies as there was no more room in the cemetery at Bergamo for them to be cremated has shocked us all.
So what else can I write about? For those of you living in a country fortunate enough not to have critical numbers may never experience a lockdown so I thought I could explain what it means…at least for us in Italy.
Lockdown means home isolation, a type of quarantine with permission to go out only for essentials, emergencies and/or work, for those still working.The only shops open are deli’s, supermarkets, pharmacies, parapharmacies, tobacco shops (also where bills are paid, mobiles recharged postal service and lottery tickets) and some hardware shops. Work environments can operate respecting the hygiene precautions – distance between employees, disinfectant, masks are not obligatory although not all firms have guaranteed the precautionary measures so far.
But this is not a blog about information which can be easily found on the news, as the situation is dramatic and journalists worldwide a covering stories and developments.
It’s a personal comment on what lockdown means at a local level:
– the radio is on immediately on the mornings to get an update on numbers as well as a quick look at world numbers.
– the days are long, and there is no rush to do anyway. Time is on hold, everything is in slow motion
– there is no need to worry about what to wear each day. I have spent most days in my beloved overalls as have many of my neighbors. There has been a hive of activity going on here as we – garden, fix the shutters, paint railings, clean up the garden furniture, redo fencing and generally potter about. The sounds of whippersnippers, sanding machines, clippers, saws and hammers are comforting. The advantage of living in the country where we can wave and chat across fences.
– it feels like we are all on holidays, days melt into days till it’s hard to remember what day it is.
– my young nextdoor neighbor is pleased he is still able to work, and laughs at himself as he never thought he’d say that! Otherwise he’d be bored to tears at home.
– it’s all selfies now in the sense of self haircuts, home gym or yoga routines, home schooling, digital libraries, home deliveries and massive amounts of social networking. Sharing info, advice, resources ‘virtual’ and good and bad jokes.
– using the new technology of 3D printers to reproduce broken valves in the essential ventilators. Unfortunately the Company that has the patent is threatening to sue the young lads StartUp firm for doing so!
– a time of solidarity, volunteers caring for those who don’t have a home to be quarantined in. A reorganization of charity/church associations to still cater within the hygiene precautions
– standing in a queue in an eerie silence, with a shopping trolley and face mask, waiting to go into the supermarket. That was a bit distressing, somewhat surreal, although inside both shoppers and cashiers had a kind word of encouragement to each other.
– the need to communicate is strong amongst Italians, so there are daily flash mobs from balconies mostly in the cities, singing, and playing music or just banging saucepan lids! Heart rendering stuff with old time favourites like – ‘Volare’, ‘Azzurro‘, or tear jerking renditions of the National Anthem! My little village managed the noon applause for all the health workers, a sign of appreciation and encouragement to keep battling for us. But we are a little too embarrassed to sing!
– an appreciation for the solidarity being shown from the rest of the world – China sent medical teams and an enormous amount of ventilators, masks and important equipment on a private plane. Others let us know by lighting monuments in Italian colours from Sarajevo to Dubai.
– it will make or break families, and flatmates, as 24hr isolation together is a trial
– a high consumption of hand cream from the washing
– it’s a time of reflection, on how we lived up to now and how this will change us forever.
It may be lockdown now but we have not lost the key and will reopen, resurface and recharge as will you all when this corona virus nightmare is over.
‘Andra tutto bene’!