The coronavirus beyond the borders: Our grandparents fought in a war, we are upset that we can't go out
We contacted residents of popular destinations and interviewed them. What is the situation like in northern Italy, Spain, Croatia and Slovakia? What do the locals think about the decisions taken by their governments, where do they believe mistakes have been made and what do they consider to be the worst thing about the contagion?
Spain: "Our grandparents fought in a war, and we are upset that we can't go out."
"I'm from Madrid, but I‘m currently spending my time in our villa in the mountains. I'm on maternity leave, I don't have to work. My husband is on home office like most employees who had the possibility. It's not an easy situation. We Spaniards are quite similar to the Italians, we spend a lot of time outside. When the government closed down the parks in Madrid, everyone who had the opportunity left the town for their country houses in the mountains, where they can at least be in the garden,"
Andrea, who feels she can at least breath freely in the mountains, revealed to LP-Life.cz. In Madrid, people believe that the situation is not under control and the public is of the opinion that these measures should have been taken much sooner. It's too late now. She is one of those who thought of the worst in advance: "We'd left for the mountains before they banned everything. Now we‘re afraid of those coming here now, who might spread the disease. Some people are pretty angry. A lot of young people are upset, going crazy about the fact that they have to be locked up at home with their children for a couple of days, but the truth is that our grandparents had to fight in a war and we are angry than we can't go out!"
Slovakia: "Those who have face masks are wearing them"
"I live in the village of Nové Zámky with three children. My fourth one should be born in 2 weeks. I'm afraid of the contagion quite a lot, especially because of the baby. They've quarantined the hospitals, banned visits, and anyone who is about to be hospitalized has to be tested for the coronavirus first. You never know... Otherwise, it is deserted out there. You hardly ever meet somebody. When someone goes shopping, they wear a face mask," Henrieta from Slovakia describes her uneasy feelings, adding that similar to the Czech Republic, they sorely lack face masks. Those who couldn't get their hands on a face mask have sewn one at home, or they're at least using a scarf.
The shops are often half empty. They do restock, but it can easily happen that you miss out. Unlike the Czechs, the Slovaks make sure to maintan the recommended distances: "People are allowed to enter the stored in limited numbers, so that not many would accumulate at the same time. I go there as little as possible. Right now, I don't want to take any chances!"
Croatia: "We are afraid of the impact on the economy!"
In addition to worrying about her health, Ljiljana, who lives in Pula, is also concerned about how things will look like in Croatia when it's all over: "More than the disease itself, people are worried about the impact on our fragile economy, which is 99% dependent on tourism. Restaurant and bar owners, as well as people working in culture, like myself, all complain about it. All public institutions have been closed for two weeks already. Education has been taking place online since 13 March. Shops and malls are open until 6 pm."
Face masks? They're as hard to get there as they are over here. Their price has multuplied due to high demand. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, they cost about 2 CZK, now it's 25 CZK. "In most places, face masks are sold out, but no one is wearing them. But they should. Pula lies very close to the Italian border. Every day many Croats living here go to Italy to work - to Trieste or as far as to the surroundings of Venice. That's why people here are panicking a lot more than in other regions," explained Ljiljana.
Italy: Out for no more than twenty minutes!
Danilo lives in Riccione, 30 kilometers away from Rimini, and feels like in a prison. Rimini is considered a dangerous area. Travel is only allowed here in case of an emergency. "If you're going to work, you need to have a special paper, listing personal information about you and your job. If you get intercepted by the police and you're unable to present the paper, you'll be fined. You can't even travel from one part of the town to another. You have to stay in your neighborhood and and you're only allowed to be out for the maximum of 20 minutes. If you need to go somewhere, for example to the pharmacy, you have go one person at a time. Public transport isn't operating. There can only be one person in a car.
But you'll find much worse places here. The worst situation is in Lombardy, where, according to Danila, the hospitals are dealing with serious issues. "They don't have any beds for the sick anymore. Nobody expected that 15,000 people would be infected with the virus at once. Medical teams are working 24/7 to make sure everyone gets the same medical care. However, there aren't enough doctors, and they're lacking face masks and respirators. We should have received some from Germany, but Germany stopped imports," explains the Italian. They are trying to secure the equipment elsewhere, mainly for hospitals. The peak of the contagion is expected to be reached this week.
"After that the spreading of the coronavirus should have a downward tendency," the man hopes, and believes that the doctors will soon produce a vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus. "There is a special team of doctors from Italy and China here, who are working hard to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. No one knows when it will be finished, it could take months, but main thing is they're working on it. In my opinion, though, the virus might return, it could be stronger and present a seriousndanger not only the elderly, but also for younger people.