Manitoba

Winnipegger stuck in Italy as country put in lockdown to contain coronavirus

A Winnipegger who travelled to Italy to be an au pair is now stuck in the country, after its government announced Monday that it is going into lockdown because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The roughly 60 million people in Italy are only allowed to travel for work or medical reasons

Winnipegger Claire McCarvill is stuck in Italy after the country locked down its borders and restricted travel. (Claire McCarvill/Twitter)

A Winnipegger who travelled to Italy to be an au pair is now stuck in the country, after its government announced Monday that it is going into lockdown because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Italy announced Saturday that it was locking down the northern part of the country, affecting roughly 16 million people. That was expanded to the rest of the country on Monday.

People are only allowed to travel for work and medical reasons until April 3.

"Basically, we're just trying to get along with our daily lives, sort of keeping the kids up to date since they're not in school anymore," Claire McCarvill told CBC News Network. The Winnipegger is in Champoluc, a ski village in northern Italy.

"Luckily, being in the small village that we are, we are still allowed to go outdoors because there's really nobody walking around at all."

Italy has 9,172 cases of COVID-19 and 463 people have died from it. To avoid spreading the virus even more, schools have closed, events that gather large crowds such as sports or concerts have been cancelled, and ski hills like the one in Champoluc have shut down.

McCarvill said the only people remaining in the village now either live there or are there to avoid being in larger cities such as Rome or Milan.

Italy has 9,172 cases of COVID-19 and 463 people have died. The Italian government announced Monday that it was putting the entire country in lockdown to contain the spread. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

McCarvill is facing another issue, however: most of her belongings, including her passport, are stuck in Milan.

She is trying to figure out how to retrieve her stuff, and also has been in touch with other Canadian au pairs in Italy as they try to navigate the situation and fly home.

As stressful as the situation appears to be, McCarvill is rolling with the punches.

"Every time a new situation comes out, for example, last night was pretty tough … but there's really no point in getting crazy and panic, because it's just going to make the situation worse," she said.

Italian in Winnipeg worries for family

Anita Molinari, 23, is a dual citizen who was born in Canada but grew up in the region of Piemonte, in northwest Italy.

The COVID-19 outbreak in Italy began in Lombardy — the region east of Piemonte, where Milan is — before spreading to several provinces in Piemonte.

Molinari returned to Canada when she was 16 to finish her education, but her family is still in Italy.

"My family also, unfortunately, is late 50s and up," Molinari said, and people age 60 and older have been advised to stay indoors.

Anita Molinari, a U of W student, has family staying home in a northwest region of Italy after the country imposed sweeping restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. (Submitted by Anita Molinari)

"We're being really careful," she said. "My mom has reminded people in public to wash their hands because that's the kind of person she is."

Molinari's two grandmothers have care workers who visit during the day. There are wipes and hand sanitizer next to the door for the workers to wash their hands when they enter and before they leave, she said.

Molinari's mother, who is a teacher, will stay home "for at least the next month" because of the school closures.

Molinari last spoke with her mother on Saturday, and aside from reminding her daughter to wash her hands and stay healthy, there hasn't been much news because they don't know much about what's going on, Molinari said.

"She told me they're just working a lot in the garden and going for a lot of walks around the block and up the hills."

Molinari, who studies at the University of Winnipeg, has not been in Italy since Christmas, before the coronavirus infections started. 

"[My mother] was actually calming me down the other day. While they're quarantined, and I am just here panicking because I have to go to school and I'm scared of getting sick."

 

With files from Marina von Stackleberg and CBC News Network

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