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Codogno residents recount life in quarantine due to coronavirus

This small town in Lombardy is considered to be the main focus of the epidemic in Italy. Its 15,000 inhabitants have been placed in solitary confinement.

Even her. Even the traditional Sunday mass has been canceled at Codogno. “It is a sign that things are really not going well”, points out, a bit taken aback, Roberto Cighetti, who lives very close to the church. Unknown until then, the city of Lombardy has been making the headlines since the Italian authorities placed it in quarantine on Saturday, February 22. A measurement taken after the death, a few hours apart, of two patients affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus, in northern Italy.

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RobertoCighetti and the 15,000 inhabitants of Codogno are indeed prohibited from leaving the city, “unless otherwise specified”. To make sure, police make rounds at the entrances and exits. Beware of offenders : the decree-law provides for sanctions of up to three months’ imprisonment. And therePrime Minister Giuseppe Conte even warned that he would send the army if necessary.

The view from the window of a resident of Codogno (Italy), February 23, 2020.
The view from the window of a resident of Codogno (Italy), February 23, 2020. (ANGELA TERRAMEA / FRANCEINFO)

Sure his website (in Italian), the town hall of Codogno has thus created a tab “Sanitaraia Alert” to which Internet users are automatically redirected when browsing. Luminous panels pass this following message: “The population is invited to stay at home, as a precaution.”

The small town, located 60 kilometers south of Milan, is not the only one currently living in slow motion. A dozen surrounding municipalities have also been quarantined. A total of 52,000 people are asked to stay at home, the equivalent of a city like Vannes (Morbihan), Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône), Fréjus (Var) or Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis). But it is to Codogno that all eyes are turned. And for good reason : Casalpusterlengo, a small town at the gates of Codogno, is considered “the epicenter of the home” epidemic detected.

In fact, the locality hosts a site of the multinational Unilever where the 38-year-old executive, considered “patient 1”, who started the epidemic in the region, works. His 8 month pregnant wife is contaminated, as well as a friend with whom he played football, regulars of a bar belonging to the family of this friend, doctors who treated him and patients of the hospital of Codogno where he was from Wednesday to Saturday.

If thehe people are not allowed to leave the city, they can however circulate normally in the streets. But we still have to find where to go: Everything is closedsays Roberto. Bars, restaurants, town hall, libraries, schools … You can’t find anything open. “

While walking around Sunday morning, I did not meet many people. It looks like a ghost town, I have never seen that … Roberto Cighettiat franceinfo

The festivities, sporting and cultural, have all been canceled. A gathering of enthusiasts of agricultural model making, which was to take place on Sunday in Codogno, will finally be held another day: the organizers have written roughly “Annullato” on their Facebook page. As for the municipal stadium Molinari, it did not host the football meeting between the premises of RC Codogno and the visitors of Zingonia Verdellino as planned. “Postponed”, can we read.

Screenshot of a Facebook post from the Codogno football club (Italy) announcing the cancellation of football matches on February 23, 2020.
Screenshot of a Facebook post from the Codogno football club (Italy) announcing the cancellation of football matches on February 23, 2020. (FACEBOOK)

Roberto Cighetti also canceled all of his outings, including a trip to Naples. In any case, the trains of the private company Trenord no longer stop at the station. Instead, the thirty-something takes care of the garden, the chicken coop and his cats. Above all, he spends a lot of time on the phone to reassure his loved ones, “often more worried than [lui]“. He just admits having taken several hours before realizing that the famous virus had just knocked on the door of his city. “When I read coronavirus and Codogno, I said to myself: ‘But it’s unreal!'”, says this professor of science and anatomy in a high school.

I know people who have tested to see if they were positive.Roberto Cighettiat franceinfo

He doesn’t want to panic, he did not buy a protective mask for example. “I have a few doctors around me, he explains. Their analysis of the situation keeps me from falling into paranoia like some. ” Residents are rushing to pharmacies and supermarkets, the only signs to be authorized to open. “My grandfather went shopping in a shopping center in Casalpusterlengo, a town very close to here. To limit contact, an airlock system was put in place. It is in groups of 50 that customers could come in “Roberto reports Cighetti. To find out where to find food, others find out on a Facebook page. So a certain Giovanni would like to know “which Codogno supermarkets are open”.

The lack of food is precisely what begins to worry Angela Terramea. “Vegetable, salad and milk stocks are running out”, explains this 32-year-old Italian, who did not see the light of day since Friday. “And to say that we have to hold like this for 14 days, she said, already tired from the situation after only 24 hours of quarantine. We have food for a few days but I don’t know if the supermarkets will stay open for long. “

When franceinfo joined her on Sunday noon, Angela Terramea did not hide his concern. “The authorities are trying to limit the spread of the virus, that’s fine. But when we see that the number of cases keeps increasing, it is scary”, she blurted, a few tremolos in her voice. She ordered dthem boxes of masks somewhere, in his apartment located Viale Trieste. To kill time, she watch TV, play cards with her mother, clean up and watch the deserted streets by the window. She also regularly takes news from her neighborhood neighbors … by writing to them on WhatsApp.

Angela Terramea and Roberto Cighetti will not be going to work on Monday, or the next few days. For her, a replacement has been found. As for him, he is thinking about preparing videos that he could give to his students, a story that they do not lose their hands. “Especially if it has to last longer than expected.”

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