Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Lockdown: Nerves frey in quarantine, some people suffer but for some it couldn’t get any better

Day twelve for Marzio Toniolo, a 35-year-old primary teacher in lockdown in San Fiorano as he recounts his diary from an Italian red zone.

“Yesterday was a day that we spent in the house because it was raining and it just wasn’t the case to go out, it was windy and cold. Now you can see I have a mask because before I went into a tobacconist, the tobacconists have reopened but you can only enter with a mask and only 2 people at a time,” Toniolo explains speaking into his phone whilst sitting in the car.

The death toll from the coronavirus in Italy jumped to 52 on Monday (March 2) from 34 the day before and the total number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst-affected country climbed past the 2,000 mark.

But to Toniolo’s two-year-old daughter Bianca, as she looks at a picture of the virus on her father’s phone, it looks like a sun.

“Living together is becoming more and more complicated because there are six of us, very close together and it is easy to get nervous,” Toniolo explains.

“So I spent my day photographing normal everyday moments but now they assume a different significance when you look at it in this period of time,” he said.

Gino Verani, 87, is Toniolo’s grandfather who lives with the family along with the great grandmother Ines Prandini, 85.

“I think about my grandfather, who suffers from senile dementia, he has been in a confused state for about two days,” Toniolo says.

“Maybe due to the fact that many people have entered our house in these days and it is a strange situation for him. He has confusion in his head and we tried to distract him, letting him draw or take part in other activities.”

But for 2-year-old daughter Bianca, life couldn’t get much better. Even Bianca’s dolls are in quarantine, she has all the adults to hand at any moment of the day and night to play with her.

“The fact that there is her grandfather, my father, her great grandparents and her parents for her, it is the best thing that could happen because she can play with everyone and spend her time in the best way possible.”

Every morning Bianca lines her dolls up on the couch in the living room and daddy has to pretend to be a baby and get hugged a lot.

A few brief moments can be enjoyed inside quarantine but every now and again the inhabitants are forced to think about the seriousness of their situation.

“We have got used to hearing the sound of ambulances or to see the ambulances that pass by very quickly repeatedly throughout the day,” Toniolo said. 

“This reminds me of times when I used to listen to the news and you would hear about wars a long way away, and in that case because of the distance but in this case because of the regularity, in some way it is like you loose a dose of sensitivity. This makes me feel strange but I only notice it when I stop to think about it,” he says.

(Production: Oriana Boselli, Eleanor Biles)

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