Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Ex-pat describes day 2 of COVID-19 virus lockdown in Tuscany's Lucca

Cyclists touring Lucca's massive wall in better times.
I recently reported on life in Lucca by citing a post from one of my ex-pat Facebook friends, written just before the country-wide quarantine was imposed. Today Jonell wrote an update, which I will post here:

Lucca is like a ghost town. This is the second day of lockdown. This morning, we went food shopping and to the pharmacy, but the merchants’ association agreed to close almost all other businesses until the virus is under control. We’re getting used to lining up in the street to go into the pharmacies and the greengrocer, butcher and baker shops in order to respect the one-meter distance from others.

This afternoon, like many others (except the elderly) we decided to break the ban on staying in except in case of necessity and did our daily promenade on the wall. Taking advantage of the spring sunshine felt like a necessity. There were still a fair number of runners and bikers on the wide boulevard that tops the wall. The fruit trees are in blossom and seem to know nothing about a virus, although the mayor has tested positive and city hall can only be contacted by telephone. There were policemen stopping people randomly, but we didn’t get checked.

A local woman who had been released from the hospital fell ill with COVID-19 again and was sent back to the hospital. This bug is vicious and tenacious, and the Italian government is right to lock down the whole country. It feels a little like we’re in a prison that we all agree to be in, but it’s far from martial law. In fact, we live across from the real prison, perhaps the only one in Italy that hasn’t yet rioted over deprivation of visiting rights.

Yesterday I thought we were starting to see the light because there were fewer new cases than the day before: only 977. Today, that number has leaped to 2,015, bringing the total number to 12,462. Seventy-three thousand tests have been carried out and they’re still in supply.

I sometimes curse the one who brought this to Italy and walked around with flu symptoms. I remember my mother keeping me home from school when I had a cold so I wouldn’t give it to others. I was too young to understand the implications of Camus’ The Plague when I read it in French class. We know more now than we did in the nineteenth century, the period in which it was set. We have more means to fight this. Now we all must apply our knowledge wisely as the Italians are doing. The question is how long can we live like this in a country so used to freedom of movement by ground, air or sea? The very idea of not being able to go wherever you want when you want might prove to be trying.

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