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Gibraltarian in Italy describes impact of country-wide lockdown

Gibraltarian Ana Serra has described her lockdown experience in Italy, as the country grapples with the outbreak of coronavirus.

The number of cases detected in Italy yesterday increased from 17,660 from 15,113, while the death toll rose by 250 marking a 25% increase to 1,266 deaths.

Northern Italy is the hardest hit region in Europe, with the entire country of 60m citizens on lockdown.

Ms Serra lives and runs a business in Rome, one of the less affected areas in Italy, and has described the surreal experience of living in lockdown.

“For a noisy country like Italy, this new quietness feels almost unreal,” Ms Serra told the Chronicle.

“The usually busy streets are now mostly empty, I think it is the first time in a hundred years that we don’t have traffic in Rome.”

“The majority of people want this to end as soon as possible, so they are embracing the new measures to fight the spread, and even asking for stricter measures.”

“In fact right now only pharmacies and supermarkets are opened although they are closing earlier and only a few people at a time can enter. Definitely, it does not sound like the country we all know.”

She added Italy is a country “striving not to collapse”, and the spread of the virus has affected her own business Selected Tours Italy.

“What happened has affected my business, the business of my suppliers, friends, partners very much,” Ms Serra said.

“It is a country that is striving not to collapse and the tourism sector is affected in its totality.”

“November to March is the time of the year when we sell the majority of the itineraries for the high season.”

Positively, she has not faced cancellations and instead many of her clients have asked to postpone their holidays.

“This makes us hope that after the hard times we are all facing in Italy in the tourism sector we can look forward to better days,” she said.

“The fact travellers do not intend to stop now dreaming about their trips to Italy give us the strength that we need to get through these hard times.”

Just days ago she guided a family inside the Vatican Museum, then she was told to limit her guiding to open air sites before the lockdown.

Fortunately for Ms Serra, she has been able to avoid the virus.

“Luckily, no one I directly know has been diagnosed with coronavirus,” she said.

“But let me tell you that in situations like this one, we all feel closer to any and each one of the people affected, regardless of whether they are or not people we know.”

“We also feel very close to the hundreds of nurses, doctors, anaesthetists who are in quarantine in the public hospitals where they work and have not returned to their homes and families since the outbreak.”

“They are taking all the possible efforts to ensure we all return to our normal lives as soon as possible.”