Sara Platto’s mother in Italy called her “crazy” for staying in Wuhan even as the virus-hit city was quarantined in January. Now she’s offering advice to people back home on how to cope.
Platto, who lives with her 12-year-old son at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, rejected four offers of evacuation from the Italian government after refusing to abandon her two cats and deciding it was safe enough to stay in China.
“It’s not Ebola,” Platto, who works at Jiangnan University, told AFP.
She has spent more than 50 days cooped up at home, taking turns with her son to use one computer for online classes and work.
Italians enduring China’s health crisis and draconian measures that have left them effectively housebound for weeks now find themselves watching similar scenes unfold at home.
Italy — where the virus has killed more than 1,000 people in just over two weeks, making it the hardest-hit country outside China where over 3,100 have died — has imposed a lockdown unprecedented in Western Europe.
All stores except for pharmacies and food shops have been closed and residents are to stay at home except to travel to work, shop for provisions, or seek medical help.
“They are freaking out, because it’s something they’re not used to,” Platto said of people in her home city of Brescia in the northern region of Lombardy, where most of Italy’s infections have been detected.
“What I’m saying to everybody is don’t panic, because panic is worse than a virus.”