An Italian family who visit Havering every year to see relatives has spoken exclusively to the Havering Daily about life in Italy during the lock down period.
Rossella who lives in Treviso in northern Italy, one of the first areas to be quarantined told the Havering Daily: “There have been many deaths here but they have all been elderly people with underlying health conditions.
“We don’t see people dying on the streets or collapsing dead from the virus as people have described. We know our doctors have been working really hard dealing with this outbreak and we know that the majority of people who are in hospital because of it are the elderly with the underlying health conditions.
“Unfortunately not everyone listens to the advice given and last weekend in Milan a group of young people gathered together at a place where they often hang out, despite the warnings not to do this and have now consequently picked up the virus.
“We have been given advice to not hang around in large groups together, all sporting clubs across the country have been closed and restaurants close at 6pm. You can go to bars during the day but you are advised to sit at a distance from each other and not been in close contact with others.
“Despite the conditions, we are trying to live our lives as normally as we can. Yes, our streets are empty, the schools and universities are all closed so the roads are very quiet. When we go to the supermarket we don’t all crowd in together they let a small amount in at the time to avoid close contact with others and there are people wearing gloves and masks but not everybody.
“The supermarket has a hand gel dispenser now like those in hospitals so as you enter and leave you can clean your hands.
“You have documentation now that you fill in every time you move from one place to another so your movements are controlled in case you contract the virus people can trace back your steps and see who you have been in contact with.
“If you don’t follow the advice being given you can find yourself fined for not doing so.
“They are testing for people with fevers in airports and train stations to monitor the situation.
“Most Italian people are having to make the best of what they can truthfully. We are quite calm about it, we are unhappy with the way the situation was dealt with, it should have been dealt with better than this.
“Most of the events have been cancelled now, no sporting events, no gatherings, no marriages, nothing like this can take place at the moment. However, life has to go on and we are making the best of what we can.”