Sam is an Italian living in West Cork. This is her story.
“We first heard of Coronavirus in January.
For the past two weeks Italy has been shut down. I have only one family member who has been infected with the virus. She was working in a restaurant not far from my village in Valpolicella. A customer was infected and the whole restaurant got notified within a week. She got swabbed, tested positive for the virus and was isolated in her bedroom under strict direction from the hospital. She couldn’t leave her room except to use the toilet or shower. She had to sanitise everything, wherever she went. The family was put in quarantine in the same house and got tested, but none of them were infected.
When the North was first locked down, the very same day that the news went out, a lot of people from the South, who were living in the North, rushed back home to the South. In my region alone, in the past three weeks, over 40 people lost their lives; not only the elderly or compromised health people but even people in good health.
People are in quarantine, strictly isolated, they can leave home only with an official written permission. Without it they can get fined €200.
People are dying alone. There was one doctor that mentioned how tired and emotionally distraught she was after making so many video calls and calls to the families who lost their loved ones due to the virus.
Funerals have been suspended. Coffins are stored in mortuaries or churches.
My biggest fear is being far away from home from my parents and family, I don’t tell my mum how worried I am for her and my family because she is already scared enough. Please…staying home can save lives.”