empty streets of Italy amidst the covid-19 red alert

Living in Italy under quarantine during the Covid-19 outbreak

This article is in the English language. मराठी भाषेमध्ये वाचण्यासाठी येथे click करा.

It’s been four weeks since the first case of covid-19 was recorded in Italy. On the second day itself, there were around 80 people infected, and two died of this deadly disease. The affected region was mostly in northern Italy, including Milan, Veneto, and Padova but within just a few days, covid-19 has already reached southern regions. The number of people getting infected was increasing not day by day but on an hourly basis. Our mails already flooded with all those forward messages of explaining whats and hows about covid-19. Many northern regions were already quarantined by then, and finally, after a week or two since the outbreak, the entire country was put on red alert and quarantined.

It’s been more than 2 weeks now that we all are under quarantine during the Covid-19 outbreak. Everything, hear me, everything is closed. Offices, factories, mills, ports, churches, bars, restaurants, parks, malls, everything was asked to shut down. Only supermarkets, pharmacies and some other essential services are open. We all are stressed, worried, bored, annoyed, but still trying to keep our calm, staying at home and helping our country especially, health care specialists to fight against covid-19.

Why is it a crucial time for a strong European country like Italy, and why quarantine is the right solution?

I feel ya! Locking yourself down for straight 10 days is annoying and frustrating. Especially when you’re forced to do it. Many people opposed this decision initially but complied with it later. And it’s necessary. It’s required. Why?

The Italian government has taken crucial steps of putting 60 million people under quarantine because now this disease is not just a disease. It’s pandemic, and it’s lethal, and it’s making everyone go panic, and it’s affecting all humankind.

Quarantine in Italy was necessary because the death rate here is growing exponentially every day, and the healthcare system is getting overloaded with a daily influx of new patients.

Within four weeks, the number of affected people has reached 53,578, and the deaths are 4,827 which is also very high as compared to other countries. (data as per the 21st March 2020. Source: World Health Organisation)

Some northern regions have also predicted that if the number keeps on growing the same way, within a month, the entire health system may collapse, which is not at all a good sign.

These are the rules we’re following so far:

  • We’re only allowed to go to the pharmacies and supermarkets.
  • While going to the supermarkets, only 5-6 people are being allowed to enter inside the supermarket at a time.
  • We have to follow a rule of keeping at least 3 meters distance from each other while standing in the queue outside supermarkets.
  • The nationwide habit of greeting friends and families with Baci e abbracci (kissing and hugging) has stopped too.
  • In case someone is traveling, they have to carry a self-declaration form, which includes all the details of their traveling, including the purpose behind it.
  • The Government is taking strict actions against those who’re not following these rules and roaming outside without any valid reason. If found, they have to pay a fine of 206 euro or they may even go behind the bars.
  • A video even went viral where police vehicles are driving patrolling the neighborhoods, asking people to stay at home.

We love every bit of this country and have accepted it with all our hearts. And hence as ideal citizens, we decided to obey and respect all the decisions taken by the government, which includes staying at home. As Italians say, “Forza Italia, c’e la faremo!!”

How we’re managing our lives under quarantine?

Italian people are very social. They prefer to go out now and then for drinks and dinner, meet up with friends, and go to the theatre. I can hardly imagine how difficult it must be for them to stay isolated.

But even in this critical situation, Italians have found a way to keep themselves busy and entertained. You might have seen videos of Italians singing and playing instruments standing in their balconies and windows. On Sunday, 15th March, a flash mob was arranged to show the entire world that Italy is still alive and that we Italians are strong, and we will come back. Everyone turned off their house lights, gathered in their windows and balconies, flashed their torches, sang their hearts out, laughed, talked with each other even being apart. That’s the spirit of Italy and Italians.


You’ve no idea how cheerful and refreshing it was!

How are we as Indians managing this situation of living in Italy under quarantine during the Covid-19 outbreak?

Indians have excellent home managing skills. We are very accustomed to welcome uninvited guests at home ALL THE TIME. Well, being far from India, we might not be having such regular and unwanted guests visiting us here, but we do have that habit of stocking an extra set of necessary grocery items in our dabbas (tins). And during this crucial period that habit of always buying those extra kilos of rice, additional packets of maggie and all other things have finally paid off!

I know it’s a critical situation, but since we are staying at home and rather than panicking, I have decided to make most of this “free” time. I am working more on expanding my skill sets and learning something new. Also, we both have decided to work on our health. We’re doing regular exercise, meditation, following 4 meal plans which we hardly do during our daily 9-5 routine. Cooking and baking all those recipes we wanted to do for a long time, playing those extra rounds of chess and rewatching all our favorite movies. Trust me, we never really spent this much time together (come on, 15 days for 24*7) but it’s been good. Well, we both survived ;)!

We also have fellow Indians here with whom we regularly talk, discuss the outside situation, and help each other emotionally.

We know that as far as we are inside our house, far from the crowd, we’re going to be okay and we’re!

Why did we decide to stay here and not travel back to India?

After considering the rising cases in Italy, our friends and family members have suggested we travel back to India to be on the safe side. Our families were so worried and got so emotional that they started nagging us to come back home right away. After a lot of practical thinking, we took this decision to stay here because there were more chances of getting infected during travel. And even after we reach India anyhow, there is a probability that we may get infected, and we could become a potential carrier of the virus spreading the infection to our country and our families. And that’s the least we wanted.

Someone asked me how it feels to be in Italy under quarantine during the Covid-19 outbreak and fighting against the deadly disease.

Frankly, I couldn’t answer this right away, and it made me think about what exactly I am feeling with all this situation around me.

We’re living in Italy under quarantine during the Covid-19 outbreak, far from our families. I am not scared, but I am sad and worried.

I am sad because every day, the number of people dying is 3 digits long. Just by hearing that number every day at 18.00 quenches my heart. I am sad about all those who are still out there fighting the life battle. I am sad about all those who might get infections and may never come back. I am sad for all those stranded somewhere else and cannot visit and see their family and friends.

I am worried for all those health care providers who are giving their more than 100% to save as many lives as possible and working round the clock. I am getting worried by thinking about that old lady who used to wave at me from her window whenever I used to go to my balcony to put clothes for drying in our previous apartment or the one whom I met a few days back in a park and laughed my heart out, even though I couldn’t speak a word with her or that mischievous older man who helped me get my favorite flavor of yogurt from the topmost shelf in the supermarket. And I am worried for all my family and friends living across 7 seas because soon they might have to go through all this crisis of what we’re going through now.

But on the other side, I am amazed. I am so amazed to see that so many people from our families and friends with whom we’ve lost contacts long back have been asking about us, asking us to take care of ourselves, praying for us. 4 weeks, and we’re still getting so many messages on our phones, on our social media handles. Even people who don’t know us personally have been sending us prayers and giving us hopes and strengths that everything will be fine soon! Our neighbors, friends here, irrespective of their nationalities, religions have been very helping each other.

Over all these things, all the opinions, concerns, what matters most is we’re still hopeful. We’re fine, we’re strong and we as Italians, as one strong country, are fighting back and will survive and come out stronger.. and as Italians say, “Andra’ tutto bene..!!”


5 thoughts on “Living in Italy under quarantine during the Covid-19 outbreak”

  1. This is such a hard time for everyone and most of us have never experienced anything like this. Im happy to hear you are doing ok and I do believe we will come out stronger than before. Stay safe.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Stacey! I know this is a hard time and this too shall pass. Let’s stay positive and calm. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

      1. Hey Ashwini,
        First, thank you so much for sharing this with us with everyone! You have poured your heart out! It’s so genuine and so informative to hear the inside story! This is tough time and we need to be united and strong! Italy Is an example of that! Be positive stay indoors and stay cheerful as always! We got this! We will get through this!


  2. My heart goes out to you guys! I’m in Virginia and we’ve not been ordered to stay inside but most of us are after seeing places like Italy and NYC. Quarantine is really the best way to keep the virus from spreading so it is a necessary evil at this time.

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