Living with a new wave of Covid-19 cases - a Wearside expat reveals life under new restrictions in Italy
A former Sunderland couple have revealed life under a new wave of Covid-19 cases in Italy which has just had its highest daily death toll since January.
Most of Italy is now back under tough restrictions as another wave of coronavirus spreads. Latest reports show 502 people died on Tuesday, March 16, which was the highest daily rate since late January.
More than 103,000 people have now died in the pandemic in Italy.
There are daily 10pm to 5am curfews and a traffic light system to indicate virus levels in each region, said Sandra Perry, nee Laws, who is originally from Farringdon.
She and her husband Greg - who was a Business Studies undergraduate from Sunderland Polytechnic – run a small bed and breakfast and olive oil business in Cingoli which is part of the Le March region which has a red rating.
Sandra told how life had been impacted by the pandemic.
“People have to stay in their homes, not leave their comune (council) area and not travel unless there is a good reason.
“Schools, barbers, hairdressers, restaurants (can offer a take-away-service), bars, beauty salons and non-essential shops remain closed. Visits are allowed over the Easter period to allow people to visit just one other house.”
Sandra added: “Italy has lots of police forces so laws are strictly enforced. We went out shopping one Sunday a week or so ago and were stopped by the Carabinieri. It is normal practice here so they ask for your driving licence; insurance details and log book. They then check everything is okay with their onboard computer return your documents and wave you on.”
Contact in shops and pharmacies is minimised and ‘customers are encouraged to pay with a debit or credit card which follows the Italian Government’s introduction of a ‘cash back’ scheme to promote the use of plastic rather than cash’.
In supermarkets, customers have their forehead temperatures checked, there is an automatic hand sanitiser and a display indicating the maximum number of customers.
The vaccination programme is under way in Italy with 7.2 million people having receive a dose and 2.2 million fully vaccinated.
Sandra said: “The government now state that 80% of the population should be vaccinated by September. The first phase January to March is almost finished which covers health and social workers, residents and staff of care homes and people over the age of 80 years.
“Phase 2 will cover people with health problems, high priority school staff and those aged over 60 years.”
Despite all the difficulties, there are positives for the couple including their dramatic view of the Adriatic Sea as well as ‘everyone pulling together’.
Greg used to work at Haskel Energy Systems on North Hylton Road and then returned to complete his final university year. Sandra worked in Pallion for Bonas Machine Co eventually becoming responsible for shipping the firm’s looms throughout the world.
The couple moved to Lincolnshire where Sandra soon became employed using her legal skills.
Greg worked in sales and marketing and had the chance to visit Bologna and Milan on business. He took along Sandra and now they call it home.