Coronavirus in Italy: James O'Brien caller exposes quarantine realities

10 March 2020, 11:12 | Updated: 10 March 2020, 17:48

By Seán Hickey

A guest calling from northern Italy shared with James O'Brien that she wasn't allowed attend her friend's funeral as a coronavirus precaution.

"A great friend of mine died on Saturday and he can't have a funeral" she told James. Because of fears of the spread of coronavirus, Italian officials have banned all public gatherings and as a result the caller's late friend is "only being allowed a brief [ceremony]- not even a church service", which in a Catholic country like Italy is quite a strange occurrence.

Melanie, based in Parma in northern Italy admittedly was finding the entire situation "distressing"and told of two personal events that brought the news home to her.

James was taken aback by the revelation, but not surprised. It seemed to him that the Italian authorities are using whatever measures they can in order to maintain and prevent Covid-19's spread.

Melanie shared another aspect of the quarantine that has directly affected her whereby the her son's mother in law has been stranded in Rome.

The whole of Italy will be on shutdown until April 3rd
The whole of Italy will be on shutdown until April 3rd. Picture: PA

She told James that she's "staying with them and she can't get home" because each province of Italy requires special permission to travel in or out.

The caller explained that the son of the woman is "attempting to obtain certificates to drive down and pick her up" because of the risks involved in him trying to drive down on his own accord. "If he attempts to do it without permission he will be stopped at a road block" she said.

Melanie admitted that "there are some distressing aspects but of course it's for the common good", acknowledging the fact that the country is implementing these measures to protect the wellbeing of those living in Italy.