‘People are very scared’: Colombian in Italy about coronavirus

A couple of weeks ago, ending January, two Chinese tourists will test positive for new coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2, his official name) while they were in Rome (Italy).

The alarms in the European country, however, were finished turning on last weekend, when a focus of the infection was detected in Lombardy in northern Italian.

“Last Friday, February 21, we got up with the news of four cases. And with the passing of time they increased more and more: 34 in the afternoon; 60, at night; 150, the next day. Already on Sunday 23, 11 villages in quarantine ”, He told EL TIEMPO Catalina Cortés, a Colombian who lives in Milan, the most important city in the Lombard region.

Yes they have recommended reducing social gatherings and have even canceled classes at colleges and universities throughout the region

The 11 villages that are in quarantine are Vo ‘Euganeo, in Veneto, and Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano, where some 50,000 people live.

In them they have made presence, to exercise control, the Army, several carabineros (Italian security agency) and other members of law enforcement.

According to Catalina, 25, who is student of the Polytechnic of Milan, the weekend felt the city very alone and there were even problems to buy in supermarkets.

“On Saturday, the subway was noticeably more alone. On Sunday, I went to Parma for a walk and some friends reported that the supermarkets were empty. I checked it myself when I returned, but on Monday they reported that they were stocked again. ”

He also said that he feels nervous in the streets and that people are very scared.

“People walk with caps of these industrialists. A friend went shopping and they are already sold out, and online they are charging up to 40 euros for a box ”, he claimed.

He said the authorities enabled an emergency line to call in case he suspects of having the symptoms of the virus.

“They still don’t say anything about staying at home, or anything like that. But they did recommend reducing social gatherings and they have even canceled classes at colleges and universities throughout the region. ”

To this is added that theaters, cinemas and public venues have been closed, and fairs and congresses were suspended.


In the Plaza de la Catedral, in the center of Milan you can see people with caps.

Despite the fear that can be perceived, Catalina commented that, since Monday, the city continues to move normally, that it is not true that there are “supply problems or that it is a deserted city, for nothing”.

Of course, he made it clear that, if the situation worsens, she and many other Colombian acquaintances and people from other countries contemplate the idea of ​​returning to their places of origin, even for a while. “I’m not so afraid of contagion, but people. I am very concerned about people’s reaction and collective panic. If everything gets very serious, I prefer to be in Colombia with my family here alone and isolated ”.

Racism cases?

Catalina said she has a friend who is Chinese and that last week they experienced an uncomfortable fact.

“I was in the subway with him and as soon as we got into one of the cars there were people who changed when they saw him. And they covered their faces and everything. ”

He added that his acquaintance told him that this situation has happened several times.

“The day of the subway he did nothing, but then he told me that people cross the street when he sees it and that. He doesn’t take it personally, but he does say he has felt a racism ‘Full’. ”


In the city there is a shortage of tapacobas.

According to Civil Protection data, 7 have died so far in Italy and 283 cases of infection, with 212 of them on Lombard soil.

The other regions with infected are Veneto (38), Emilia Romagna (23), Piedmont (3), Alto Adige (1) Lazio (3), Tuscany (2) and Sicily (1), in total eight regions.

Camilo Hernández M.
Trends TIME
On twitter: @CamHerM


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