DAY 4: ‘My wife and I are trying to structure our days as much as possible’

Sardinia – an Italian island on lockdown

Today (Friday) marks the 4th day of the national lockdown here in Italy.

As of today, there are 42 confirmed positive cases of the COVID-19 Coronavirus on the island of Sardinia – an increase of 4 cases since yesterday. We are under complete lockdown until at least April 3rd, and the government have advised us not to leave our houses unless we need to do grocery shopping, for medical reasons, or to work for essential services.

Two main public airports on the island, Alghero and Olbia, have been shut down completely, and Cagliari airport only remains open for essential flights in and out of the island.

The Police are continuing to stop and check people’s reasons for travelling, and are making their presence well felt across the island. There are still reports of people being stopped and fined €206, and threatened with 3 months in custody for travelling without a justified reason. Slowly, the wider population of Sardinia are coming to terms with life under lockdown.

Other expats like myself are also trying to come to terms with the restrictions, and are doing our best to cope, and carry on.

A friend of mine, originally from Wales but based in Sardinia’s capital city Cagliari, wrote today “(I) woke up at around 5am to a strange, melodic, repetitive beeping sound. Looked outside and there was a truck spraying some kind of liquid/mist all over the streets and buildings. Very bizarre.”

Another, a fellow Irish expat, also based in Cagliari, told me “Seeing people queueing down the street to keep the one metre distance, wearing masks and plastic gloves, is for our good health but also really creepy. When have we ever experienced anything like this? It’s hard to take it in. I guess many of us are in a state of shock … I am trying to be positive but the latest increase in cases and deaths in Italy chills me, numbs me. It’s shock.”

It has now been 8 days since the school where I work closed in Cagliari, following the first wave of restrictions announced by the Italian government. At home, it felt like a holiday initially, but the novelty quickly wore off as we realised the seriousness of the situation. My wife and I are now trying structure our days as much as possible.

On Monday, the day before the national lockdown took effect, we both agreed that we would try and soldier on and normalise our lives as much as possible, given the circumstances. We’re continuing to wake up (relatively) early, prepare breakfast, shower, and get dressed, in order to start our day properly. This might seem like common sense and quite mundane to point out, but it’s completely necessary to avoid the dreaded “cabin fever syndrome” while being stuck at home.

As all gyms remain closed, and we’re advised against unnecessarily going outside, we have resorted to following home-workout plans on YouTube in order to try and stay in shape. The sheer amount of different workout/exercise tutorials online are enough to keep us occupied and help stave off the boredom. I’m planning to try-out a few new recipes, and have even resorted to perfecting homemade peanut butter!

People across Italy are also trying to normalise. The wider sense of community is growing. On Italian social media, musicians are being called together for a unique flash mob – they are invited to pick up their instruments and to start playing from their windows this evening at 6pm. According to the open invitation on social media “Our country will thus become, for those few minutes, a gigantic free concert.”

#DistantiMaUniti – Distant but united.

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