It was unprecedented. A nationwide lockdown in a developed nation as a desperate measure to control the coronavirus outbreak had caught the free-spirited and laidback Italians by surprise.
Italy has been reporting a spike in coronavirus cases since Feb 21, predominantly concentrated in the northern region of Lombardy. From a restriction of movement in the region and a few other cities, on March 9, all of Italy’s 20 regions with 60 million citizens went into lockdown. Two days later, it was announced that all businesses and services except pharmacies, supermarkets and grocery stores must close.
The lockdown is supposed to end on April 3 but no one is sure if that will happen now.
Diego Bellantuano, 41, software engineer in Venice
“I was having dinner with friends. I went out to have a smoke and saw some unofficial news on my phone saying that from the day after, we would not have the permission to move around freely anymore.
I was surprised, I could not believe it and neither could my friends. I mean, these are the kind of things you read about during Fascism. I didn’t think that were many cases in Venice. And considering the last we heard from the government was that there wasn’t going to be an emergency.
I’m able to work from home but I’m trying to adjust to having no social life. I sometimes wonder if this sacrifice is absolutely necessary but I try my best to follow the rules.
Luckily I have my guitar, the internet, Netflix, TV, books and phone. And I go out for a walk after work, as it is allowed. It is also surreal to see Venice without any tourist. I actually enjoy the tranquility.”
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