Day 35 – 36 of lockdown in Italy

Day 36 of lockdown in Italy: So this headline caught my attention today: Lockdown eased slightly in most regions. And then I read the news article. Except I need an Excel spreadsheet and an Honors degree to work out what it means. Here's the link:…/lockdown-eased-slightly-in-most-regio…

It looked promising, but we live in Campania so it actually doesn't mean anything changes except I can maybe, twice a week, go and buy Miss S some new clothes for all of those places that she still isn't allowed to go to.

In other heart warming news the Polish parliament has decided to have a debate an abortion (effectively banning abortions) during lockdown as it's impossible for protestors to gather. Instead. Protestors have instead taken to protesting online.

The IMF is forecasting the worst recession since the Great Depression. Of course something has to give when you keep more than 80% of the world's population at home for an extended period of time.

China is possibly facing a second wave of COVID-19 although most of the new cases are apparently from infected Chinese citizens returning to China from abroad.

Austria has reopened thousands of shops and businesses with only 384 deaths to date and only single digit percentages in terms of new cases.

President Donald Trump is in a battle of words with state governors after claiming he has total authority as President. Here come some more swinging dicks and toupees. Thank goodness for the femaie leaders around the world like Jacinta Arden of NZ, Mette Frederiksen of Denmark and Sanna Marin of Finland who get on with the job of leading their countries through the COVID-19 crisis without the chest pounding and ego driven agendas.

So, our day was uneventful. Some virus issues on the borrowed laptop (thanks to my tech guy for sorting that out), a half hearted attempt at an English lesson by Miss S. some laundry and a couple of English skype lessons. A quick chat with Tom and Mia in London discussing bathroom renovations and laundries and the compilation of a shopping list for tomorrow.

We are now into our fifth week, and I'm about ready for a change of scenery.

Day 35 of lockdown in Italy: Easter Monday and the end of the long weekend. Miss S has another day of school holidays for Italian school with Italian school online classes kicking off again on Wednesday. They are rolling out a new portal which will no doubt result in 100s of messages on the class Whatsapp group.

Miss S engaged a contractor today and has built a new, improved two room fort, ready for sleeping. This is as close to camping as we can get at the moment. Her trial run on the couch last night was apparently 'the best sleep I've had since we moved here'. Maybe we should sell her bed and convert it into an office for me.

No lessons were given or taken today but we have spent time preparing material for the coming week. Gigi has just announced that three of the keys on his keyboard aren't working. This slow techo death is painful.

I have a lovely conversation with three of the members of a travel management system team I worked with for five years from 2008-2012. This was then followed by a lengthy chat with family friends Margaret and Derek. These are the type of people you would choose as your uncle and aunt if you got to choose your relatives. They speak Italian and understand life in Italy. Miss S was asked about her level of Italian language, and at first she stumbled and shyly clammed up. She then spent the rest of the conversation talking Italian in my ear, recounting little tales and her opinion about the odd things that run through a 10 year olds head.

I got in trouble today. Miss S and I went out for an afternoon stroll, staying within the historical centre. Our mistake was to bravely circle back round and return home via the main street, Via Roma. There where two police officers behind us checking traffic and the police chief some 200 metres ahead of us walking towards the police station. He paused at the noticeboard where the death notices are posted and waited. As we approached we came over (infringing on the 1.5 metre requirement) and asked where we were going. Home. What were we doing? Walking. Where did we live? Vico Ortolani. It is probably about 300 metres from that spot to our apartment. I got a lecture on being too far away from our home and that we could only walk around our house. I politely suggested that we were close to our home and walked on, with a nervous Miss S beside me. She later told me she held her breath the whole time he was talking to us (he was wearing a mask), and the we shouldn't leave the house without masks.

The issue is that we don't live in a red zone or a region where the lock down legislation specifies exactly how close to home you need to stay. Just that you need to stay within the vicinity of your home. But of course I didn't feel like getting into a debate with a thin faced police man wearing his hat and scowling disapprovingly that I am allowed to take my child out for a walk for exercise purposes and on a non trading day it shouldn't matter if I walk around the block ten times in the shade or if I walk once up and down the main street, seeking out spots of sunshine and Vitamin D for my growing 10 year old. The mistake we made was to walk around the front of the historical centre instead of the back end where the police never go. I won't make that mistake again.

This is the whole problem with Italy's approach to lock down. It's extreme and lacks a general application of common sense. Mostly because it goes against cultural norms to follow the rules, so the rules have to be particulary stringent without any room for interpretation. Furthermore, there is no room for common sense because common sense is not readily developed and encouraged as a life skill to be applied with a sense of community responsibility.

We are all locked in our houses, forbidden from leaving except to buy essential items or attend to emergency medical issues and discouraged from exercising outside. In fact, everything I've read says we are allowed to exercise outside but that we really shouldn't go outside to exercise. When this iron curtain finally lifts Italians will come out of their homes pale, carrying extra kilos and having depleted muscle mass and bone density. Not to mention the mental health impact of being contantly inside, with a veil of fear following you everytime you have to go outside.

I can already feel it affecting Miss S as she no longer bounces out the front door when I ask her to get ready to go for a walk. She is now reluctant to go outside, scooting behind me when anyone else is approaching us on the street, and trying to shrink into the shadows to remain hidden from view. This is not how a 10 year old should feel about having an opportunity to see the blue sky and get some fresh air.

Right now I would really rather be in Australia or Denmark or Sweden.

The number of deaths in Italy is now at 20 465, although accoring to Gigi's research the great majority of those are deaths that would have occurred during the same period even without COVID-19 as they had pre existing conditions that wer life threatening.

France has extended its lockdown until 11 May, while Spain has started to allow partial return to work as their death toll slows. Sweden is being criticised by other European nations for its alternative approach, choosing to not compulsorily lock down residents but instead asking them to 'behave like adults' with recommendations that they work from home where possible and avoid crowded places like bars and restaurants.

Australia has reported 61 deaths with schools across the country currently closed for the Easter holiday break. We received an email this morning that school resumes on 20th April in Queensland and will be delivered online until 22 May. Friends are suggesting that it will be longer with some schools preparing to deliver online classes for the rest of the 2020 academic year.

New York has surpassed 10 000 deaths with authorities predicting a plateau and the worst is over. Let's hope so. The USA has more than half a million cases and and more than 22 000 deaths, bringing it into first place across the globe.

Russian infections are on the rise, and in India doctors face censorship, intimidation for reporting about problems within the health care system and attacks. It is not a good time to be a doctor in India working to fight a pandemic when there is 1 doctor for every 1456 people. The WHO recommendation is a maximum of 1:1000.

Belgium seems to have strike a balanced approach with a light lock down very early on and more than enough hospital beds and ICU facilities. People are encouraged to go out and exercise which helps them blow off some steam and helps manage the resentment that people feel at being told to stay at home. Belgians already practice sensible personal space etiquette but quickly adopted the new recommendations for 1.5 metres betwee people in queues and when passing on the street etc. Ah, Belgium sounds pretty good right about now.

Someone asked me yesterday what lessons were being learnt. Patience, patience and more patience. That ole standby 'gratitude' for our apartment, being together, being in a safe, self sufficient village, still having work and money and resources to connect and occupy ourselves. And again there is the patience, as we wait, try to let go of the anxiety, resentment and overwheming sense of time slipping away, wasted while we just want to travel, explore, discover and be out and about.

Breathe deeply, and try not to spend the day unconsciously sighing.

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