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Coronavirus in Italy: ‘Stringent’ rules, ‘confusion’ as residents describe lockdown

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For Angelo Marrocco, daily life in a small town called Albiate near Milan in Italy has changed — but not by much — since the country decreed the northern region into lockdown over coronavirus fears this weekend.

“Let’s put it this way,” he said. “We have these stringent rules. But it’s very weird because if you are local and you don’t move around, you don’t really see that there is a big change.”

The 46-year-old does note that the significant changes are that he will begin to work from home while his two daughters, aged 16 and 12, continue studying from home.

“We are trying to reduce the contact as much as possible for the next few weeks just to try and slow down the contagion rate,” he said.

Aside from an initial run to the grocery stores last month and people avoiding physical contact by reducing handshakes, Marrocco hasn’t seen other people react too strongly to the recent government decree that has locked down more than 16 million people in regions for close to a month.

“Since Saturday night, we have had these new rules that are much more restrictive,” he said.

“And so this is basically you can not leave the area, the region, without a serious reason to leave. And this is causing a little bit of frustration. But to be fair, it’s not too restrictive because we are in a very large area anyway.”

Dual Canadian-Italian citizen Margot Bellani painted a different scene. From her current residence in Cuneo, a two-hour drive from Milan near the country’s northwestern border, she said people are experiencing a “lot of confusion.”

“People are freaking out,” she said in an interview with Global News.

“They are really upset because there are a lot of unknowns. That’s the problem.”

The new restrictions came into place after mass testing revealed more than 7,300 COVID-19 cases in Italy — more cases of the novel coronavirus than any country but China, which is currently seeing the virus retreat. Italy has seen 366 deaths as of Sunday.

Travel Canada has issued an advisory urging Canadians to “avoid non-essential travel” to northern Italy due to the spread of the virus.

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