ITALY: THE STRENGTH OF A NATION TO OVERCOME COVID-19 VIRUS

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A few months ago, it was a national feeling of doom and gloom in Italy when the deadly Covid-19 virus hit the country, with such ferocious intensity that its covid-19 cases spread tragically and the world feared the worst for the country.

After weeks of collective and intensive efforts by both the government and people of Italy to ‘attend the curve’, fortune has smiled on the country. Once labelled the epic-centre of the pandemic in Europe weeks ago, Italy is now emerging from its worst days and has started to gradually lift restrictions the government had imposed to contain the outbreak.

For the first time in two months, Italians are able to take walks along the beach and pay their respects to the dead with funerals and prayers.

To contain the outbreak, the Italian government imposed a lockdown albeit, only in 11 municipalities in Northern Italy where the infections were first limited to. As infections spread across the country, the quarantine was expanded to the whole country, placing more than 60 million people under lockdown.  

The decision to impose lockdown measures was a difficult one for Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte “I am a lawyer who has fed on democratic and constitutional principles for years. To order such a stringent measure has been a very difficult thing to do”, he admitted in a program on Italian national television.

Experts claim that Italy was largely affected due to its ageing population which makes Italy the second-oldest population on earth, and secondly, its recently expanded air travel with China which saw an increase in the weekly passenger flights between the Italy and China, especially during the first few weeks of the global outbreak.

While these factors may have caused Italy to be hit harder than its European neighbours, the country has proven itself to be resilient and come out strong in the midst of it all.

Social media has been abuzz with videos and photos, shot by the locals, showing Italians coming out in their balconies and terraces, singing their national anthem and other uplifting tunes. Musicians, singers, dancers and others around are spotted in the shared videos, performing in their balconies, sticking to the lockdown protocols yet going strong and together.

We have also seen individuals mounting heroic efforts to help others, offering their time and skills: retired medical staff who returned to work to fight the virus and in tragic cases, gave their lives for others; chefs who took to preparing meals for the homeless; theatre actors who live-streamed fairy tales for children stuck at home; residents who left food on the streets for those most in need; solidarity baskets with notes that read ‘who can may put, who cannot may take’ in deserted streets.

Italy has demonstrated that together, both the leaders and the citizens must work together to overcome Covid -19. The leaders gives directives, the nation adhere, collectively the nation came out stronger.

Italians have beaten the virus by simultaneously isolating and drawing on the remarkable powers of courage, strength and cooperation. In the face of so much tragedy, they tried to boost their morale by spreading a slogan of reassurance: “Andràtuttobene” meaning ‘everything will be alright’. Indeed everything will be alright.

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