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Armenians in Italy give insight to draconian lockdown measures in Europe’s top coronavirus hotbed

12-03-2020, 13:16 Foreign Policy, Medicine
Armenians in Italy give insight to draconian lockdown measures in Europe’s top coronavirus hotbed

12 March 2020, 13:16 - NovostiNK
Amid the heightened nationwide coronavirus lockdown in Italy, ARMENPRESS has contacted two Armenians who are currently in the most-severely hit COVID19 hotbed in Europe to get an insight about the restrictions.

Gevorg Hovhannisyan, an Armenian living and working in Rome, said the situation in the Italian capital was relatively calm until last week, however it drastically escalated in the past days.

“Going out from home is banned. If a person is going to work, they must have a document showing that they are going to work. If the police stop you and you don’t have the paper then you’ll be fined 200 euros and face a three-month arrest,” he said. Hovhannisyan said people are allowed to go out only for going to the grocery store, the pharmacy and work, and everyone must wear face masks and gloves while doing so. Restaurants, hotels and clubs are shut down. All public venues are closed until March 25, and any potential further restrictions will depend upon the situation.

“There is panic in the country, we are getting bad news on new infections and deaths every day. As you know, the number of deaths in Italy is high”, he said, adding that there is shortage of face masks and hand sanitizers.

Hovhannisyan said he is keeping touch with other Armenians in Rome and they are aware of the Armenian government’s planned evacuation of its nationals.

Ani Avagyan, a researcher who went to the Bologna University for a study since February 17 and is already on her way back to Armenia, told ARMENPRESS that preventive measures and screenings are carried out at the airports.

“During this time they are advising people to carry out preventive action and follow hygiene rules. In addition, they say people should maintain 1-1,5 meter distance from one another, refrain from handshaking and kissing”, she said. Avagyan says all sectors of Italy are impacted, streets are empty, museums and public venues are shut down. People aren’t going out from their homes and educational institutions are organizing remote classes.

She also pointed out the serious shortage of face masks and disinfecting gels in Italy.

Avagyan expressed opinion that Armenia should impose stricter preventive actions by seeing Italy’s situation.

“When I went to Italy in February, at that time it seemed as if they weren’t treating the virus seriously. But then we saw what happened. I think strict measures should be taken from the beginning”.



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