Blackpool woman tells of Italy isolation during coronavirus lock-down

A Blackpool woman has told of how she was trapped by the coronavirus lock-down thousands of miles from home.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 27th March 2020, 4:45 pm

Anna Brown, 23, was working as an au pair in the Piedmont region of the north of Italy when the country was hit by the Covid-19 virus at the start of March.

Anna, whose family live in Staining, had been with a family in Cuneo looking after their 10-year-old daughter and returned their in January after the Christmas break.

But as the virus spread across the country restrictions on movement were brought in on March 9. Anna decided to stay with the family to look after the child and since travel to the airport and getting a flight were difficult at the time.

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Anna Brown has been in self-isolation while in Italy

To keep her spirits up Anna has started writing a blog and like many people now in the UK spends her time at home watching Netflix.

She said she was shocked at how quickly things changed and how it affected every aspect of people's lives in Italy.

She said: "I couldn’t ever have imagined being in this situation that I am in now as it all feels very surreal when you are a foreign national living here and experiencing it day by day. It is very difficult being alone and not with your own family or in your own country.

"I have a separate apartment to the family I am staying with but I am now restricted in contact with everyone here. At first I could still take the girl out for a walk but, understandably, as things got worse with the virus here, the family did not want me to carry on doing that.

The streets are deserted near the home where Anna Brown has been staying in Piedmont, Italy

"I was in shock and disbelief, it all happened so quickly and within one night the country changed from normality to a state of complete lock-down and strict control.

"The police question people when they go outside. You can only go out alone to buy necessities such as food or medicine. You have to keep your distance from other people.

"When you go to the supermarket you see people queuing at least one metre apart and they only let in one person at a time.

"There are no sounds, no people out walking around, no sound of traffic, just complete silence. You can sense the eeriness, it is like an abandoned town."

People maintianing distance while queuing for food in Italy

She said after a few days it got even quieter and the local supermarket closed. She had to spend time trying to find another shop and had to wear a face mask and gloves when she went out.

"There was absolutely nobody around and even the woman in the store was wearing the mask and gloves."

Anna said she was hoping things might return to something like normality in April.