Day 9: Gradually coming to terms with life under the Italian lockdown

Sardinia – an Italian island on lockdown

Police checks are becoming a normal part of daily life

Today (Wednesday) marks the 9th day of the COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown here in Italy. As of this morning, there are 124 confirmed cases of the virus on the island of Sardinia. We are still advised against leaving our homes, unless completely necessary.

In my town, and in towns all over Italy, there are cars equipped with megaphones driving around the streets, repeating the same message over and over, “Stay at home”. They also repeat what we hear on the radio and television every day “keep a minimum distance of one metre, wash your hands regularly, cover sneezes and coughs, and avoid touching your face.”

When I first heard these announcements echoing through the streets just a week ago, I felt a chill go down my spine. The whole situation and national lockdown felt surreal, unreal even. I remember my first thought – that this is like some sort of apocalyptic film where they tell you to stay at home, barricade your doors, and to stay away from the windows.

This of course, is complete fiction, and the reality here is that we are allowed to go out, as long as we can justify our reasons for being outside. We can go to the supermarket for grocery shopping, we can go to the pharmacy, and people are still taking their dogs for walks. We’re just being careful about it, following all necessary precautions.

There is no real reason to be afraid of the lockdown. It’s not the end of the world, this pandemic will pass, and we know it. The local town mayor, tells us that we are a community, and we need to help each other. We’re told that if we know any elderly person that needs help with their shopping, there are support networks with volunteers available in the town.

On the street outside my apartment building, the Police are regularly stopping people. When we’re out, we must carry a self-declaration form that states, among other things, the reasons for travel, that you’re not currently under quarantine, or positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus. This must always be accompanied by photo ID.

The self-declaration form is viewed as a legal document, and false justifications or statements can carry the possibility of a €206 fine, and imprisonment of up to three months. These Police checks are becoming a normal daily routine, and now people largely appear to be following the government’s precautions.

Nine days into the national lockdown, and scientists believe that Italy is now reaching its peak in confirmed COVID-19 cases. The number of positive cases is still rising daily, but the number of recoveries is also rising. The lockdown is slowly working.

My wife and I are gradually fully coming to terms with what’s going on, and our lives are becoming as normal as can be expected, given the circumstances. We take turns at cooking, and have begun to eat our lunch on our balcony to get a bit of fresh air – we definitely don’t take the Italian sunshine for granted anymore.

Writing is keeping me busy, and I’ve even started practicing with an old acoustic guitar that we had lying around – these are two things that I had put off for a long time.

If you find yourself in the same lockdown situation due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the only things I can recommend are to follow the necessary precautions, and try to use your time wisely. Do something that you’ve been putting off for a while – read that book, learn a new language, spend time playing with your kids, or call that person that you haven’t spoken to in a while.

#AndràTuttoBene  – Everything will be alright.

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