Italian citizens under the recent COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown have accused authorities of abandoning them, and forcing them to stay inside the same houses with their dead loved ones. This issue was first raised at the very beginning of the outbreak, in a viral video that was shared by an Italian actor and mixed martial arts trainer by the name of Luca Franzese.
Luca is the brother of a 47-year-old woman who died at home. She was generally healthy, although she did have epilepsy. After her death, he was trapped in the house with her because no one would come and get her. In his video, he said that he has waited for over a day for authorities to come and help him. He posted a terrifying video to social media pleading with authorities to come and do something.
Content warning: distressing video from Italy.
Luca Franseze appeals for help after death of his sister Theresa, 47, at home surrounded by family.
Theresa ultimately tested positive for Covid19 Coronavirus. The emergency response team is now quarantined. https://t.co/pcs7aD1d8G pic.twitter.com/QGfRlgRToW
— Naomi O'Leary (@NaomiOhReally) March 9, 2020
Authorities and local funeral homes were afraid to pick up dead bodies during the outbreak due to fears of catching the virus. Luckily, after Luca's video went viral, a local politician helped out and found a local funeral home that would be willing to handle the burial. Unfortunately, as with most of the victims of this virus across the world, Luca's sister was buried discreetly, without her family present.
This was not an isolated incident. There were other Italian citizens who faced similar traumatizing experiences during the lockdown. According to CNN, a woman who was quarantined in Italy was forced to stay in her apartment with her husband's dead body for over a day.
The woman lives in the northwestern coastal province of Borghetto Santo Spirito, west of Genoa.
Mayor Giancarlo Canepa confirmed the story to CNN, saying that the city was simply following security protocol. However, the woman now needs the help of a psychologist after the experience.
People have been ordered to stay indoors throughout the entire country, and large gatherings of any kind have been banned. Even smaller gatherings like funerals have also been banned. At least 50 people in Sicily are facing serious criminal charges after breaking the quarantine order for having a funeral with a loved one.
As of Monday, there have been over 21,000 cases and 1,441 deaths in Italy, and the country's healthcare system has now been overrun and doctors are being left with the difficult decision of rationing out treatment.
Whether you believe it or not, there is a very good chance that similar lockdowns could be coming to your hometown soon. Spain and France have already implemented very similar lockdown measures, and the United States is slowly starting to roll out these policies as well.
However, there are different approaches that can be taken, but people need to actually take this virus seriously and practice extreme social distancing to slow the spread of the illness. As the South China Morning Post noted in a recent column, South Korea has managed to handle the virus extremely well without city-wide lockdowns, by making testing and medical care as available as possible, and encouraging safe social distancing practices among citizens.