Nfld. & Labrador

Italian exchange student forced to leave St. John's and go home, where coronavirus is raging

An Italian exchange student has been forced to leave Canada because of the coronavirus and go home to a place where it’s vastly more widespread.

'I’m pretty sad and worried,' says Edoardo Spinosa, 17

Edoardo Spinosa has been sent home to Milan, Italy, despite wanting to stay in St. John's during the COVID-19 global pandemic. (Submitted by Eduardo Spinosa)

An Italian exchange student forced to leave Canada because of the coronavirus — and go back home to a place where it's vastly more widespread — is thanking Newfoundland and Labrador and pleading with its residents to stay safe.

Edoardo Spinosa, 17, of Milan moved to St. John's last August to study at Holy Heart High School and improve his English. 

He's been speaking with his family in Italy about the coronavirus. So far his family have remained healthy but they know many people who have become infected and ill.

Spinosa didn't want to leave St. John's.

"I'm pretty sad and worried because I have to go to a country where coronavirus is making a lot of people sick," he said.

His home is the epicentre of the outbreak in northern Italy where tens of thousands of people are infected and thousands have already died, but Spinosa didn't have a choice. 

Spinosa came to St. John's in August to study at Holy Heart High School and improve his English.  (Submitted by Eduardo Spinosa)

Holy Heart has closed and the company that brought him to Canada, AFS Interculture Programs, is sending all exchange students home.

Spinosa is about to see first-hand the brutal impact COVID-19 has had in his hometown. He hopes Newfoundland and Labrador will be spared.

"Dear Canada. Thank you so much. I really fell in love with you. Please, Canada, don't underestimate this problem. Take Italy as an example and please be careful," he said.

Spinoza flew back to Italy early Tuesday morning.

ASF Interculture Programs told CBC News it is sending all its students worldwide home for their safety.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador