Its Day 8 in the Big Brother household. Or Day 9 – I cant quite remember when all this started, but it seems ages ago. The near total lockdown in Italy has yet to bear fruit, and here in my quiet corner of Sicily, where we have not one hospitalised case from my comune, it all seems a bit excessive. The police have stepped up their stop and research powers. I was asked for my receipt from the supermarket on my way home yesterday, but how can I prove that I am going TO the shop?
Of course there are brighter spots – reading about the complete buffoons who think the bans dont apply to them can be quite amusing. In Naples, a large family group held a picnic in the park complete with tables and chairs, and when stopped by police explained that ‘they needed a bit of air’.
The ten sicilians who went to Puglia for the weekend in 3 caravans before being stopped and denounced, thought it was an ideal time to be a tourist, because there arent any crowds and little traffic on the road.
Yesterday police found a bar in Rome (possibly the only bar in Rome) open and serving coffee to its clients. The only thing I find surprising, is that there were only 5 customers at the bar. If it were here, it would be under siege. The thing I miss most of all is a proper cup of coffee and my morning cappuccino.
Notwithstanding a virtually constant eye on the news, it’s still hard in the more remote parts of Italy to understand the gravity of the situation in Lombardia. We have only a couple of cases, and the near total lockdown of an a huge swathe of a country seems, at first glance, like an exaggerated response. When you live here, however, and know that there are 650 intensive care beds in Sicily – for 6 million inhabitants, you also grasp that it would take virtually nothing for the entire region to become overwhelmed. For this reason, it’s gratifying that the Sicilians are, in the vast majority of cases, taking the lockdown seriously.