One of the prominent European destinations, Italy, had it's government announced a nationwide lockdown on last Thursday in light of the rapid spreading COVID-19.
The virus made its way into the European peninsula, with Italy facing first brunt of the outbreak with several positive cases popping up at an alarming pace.
With the entire country facing a lockdown and it's economy facing a severe blow, one Maldivian residing in the country shared his experience.
The tale is of one Mr. Abdulla Shareef, who has found a life and a living in Italy raising his beautiful family; a wife to whom he has been married for 16 years and through their union, the two have become parents to a 14 year old girl and a 10 year old son.
Mr. Shareef is employed at an iron manufacturing factory, which earns him his income.
The Maldivian who has come to call Italy his 'home' stated the COVID-19 outbreak is the most harrowing situation he has come to experience in his 16 years in the country.
Though the entire country is facing a lockdown, Mr. Shareef confirms the virus has not spread into the area he resides him but added the neighboring town recently reported of a few positive cases.
Adding to his experience, Mr. Shareef further explained the lockdown has restricted internal movements such as traveling between towns or cities as well.
He explained specific documents must be processed and attested prior to visiting any place outside the town of residence, and should anyone get held by authorities the locals are expected to produce the said documents which sets out the reasoning for their travels.
The exemption for locals to step out of their abodes are to reach their employments or work while Mr. Shareef added on the challenges he and everyone else face in procuring sustenance.
While most small-time shops and retailers have all closed shops temporarily the only exemptions to this are larger 'super marts' which stay open for locals to purchase the basic necessities.
However, each family can have only one member travel to and from the super marts and back home for the said purchase of goods while they are recommended if not ordered through state authorities to wear masks and gloves and carry sanitizers at all times.
Speaking of his experience, Mr. Shareef further described the entire country has transformed into a "barren wasteland" while many even describe the outside gives vibes of a "dystopian or post-apocalyptic" world, with no sign of life found for miles and a handful of movement across roads, alleys and across highways.
Mr. Shareef bemoaned over his experience noting that throughout his decade long residence in Italy, he has observed nothing but friendliness and compassion from Italians who have become friends and companions of him.
Following confirmation that North-Italy was hit with the virus, schools were closed down immediately while government institutions came to a halt in their regular method of conduct.
The government of Italy has decided on issuing allowances for everyone who will be working from home for the duration until the lockdown is lifted.
Mr. Shareef had also noted his family back in Maldives have contacted him on several occasions, voicing their concerns over his and his family's safety.
He further went on to impart his advice to Maldivians to take all necessary precautions and minimize outdoor activities as much as possible. Mr. Shareef further encouraged to improve personal hygeine and employ the use of sanitizers and to regularly wash hands.
The recent statistics from Italy's authorities reveal the country has confirmed 1,266 fatalities due to COVID019 while 250 passed away within the last 24 hours due to the virus.