London, United Kingdom – The meaning of a word can sometimes be lost in translation when it crosses borders.
That seems to be happening with the term "block,quot;. About a third of the world & # 39;s population their movement in the fight against the coronavirus has now been restricted, but those restrictions vary so much from country to country that a word is being used to describe very different experiences.
In the UK, citizens are still getting used to what a British newspaper titled: "The end of freedom,quot;. The government's message is now clear: stay home. Meetings are not allowed.
Bars and restaurants are closed. Schools have closed. Outings are for essential reasons only, such as buying food and caring for the vulnerable. Although the British have been watching similar scenes unfold in Europe in the past few weeks, it remains a shock to live under the most severe restrictions on movement known in peacetime.
On the other side of the English Channel, "blockade,quot; means something much more severe. The UK still allows one hour of outdoor exercise a day, often in parks that remain open. That would be a luxury for millions of Europeans who are only allowed an occasional trip to the supermarket. Italians face questioning, fines and possible prison terms if they are outside without a valid reason. In the Lombardy region of Italy, dogs can only be walked within a radius of a few hundred meters from one's home.
Drones and anonymous mobile phone data They are being used to track the movement of citizens. The only sound from the streets comes from a megaphone that warns people to stay inside or from an ambulance siren.
A montage of local mayors who vowed to avoid lockdown evaders went viral because of their colorful language: a mayor threatened to send the police armed with flamethrowers if someone were to celebrate a graduation party, but it does show how much pressure is put on the citizens to respect the confinement. . The UK may also be blocked, but, at least for now, it feels very different.
The most restrictive Italian strategy has been in place for weeks, but is it working? Finally, there is some hope that it could be, as the new figures suggest that the contagion rate has slowed in recent days.
Milan-based Dr. Matteo Ferrari is cautiously optimistic and believes that stricter restrictions are key to controlling the virus.
You have more reason than most to hope that the peak of contagion will be reached soon. He has been on the front line of this crisis from the start, and has not hugged or kissed his two daughters on good night in weeks. He sits down to dinner with them, but across the table. He showers as soon as he gets home after his shift at the hospital, and uses different towels from the rest of the family.
People will only understand it once their family, friends or neighbors start dying of coronavirus. When it touches you personally, it is when you change your behavior.
Matteo Ferrari, Italian doctor
He is a senior doctor at Humanitas in Milan, one of the main hospitals in the region. At the start of the emergency, Humanitas Hospital suspended all non-urgent procedures and quickly created more than 30 additional intensive care units, becoming a center for COVID-19 treatment. Dr. Ferrari generally manages the general care of hospitalized patients, but like most of his colleagues, he has been recruited to deal with the hundreds of coronavirus victims in his care.
A fellow doctor at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago, and is now in self-isolation. Dr. Ferrari tells me that despite having access to all the necessary protection kit, an element of risk is inevitable. He does not distance himself from his wife, but he admits that the fear of contagion is never far from his mind: "Change all aspects of your life."
Look at the UK images with concern. "Half-locks don't work, it has to be total," he says. You have noticed the difference in Milan since the government imposed the latest wave of restrictions a week ago. His daily 15 km trip to the hospital is now through completely deserted streets.
"Social distancing is key, but the public must take it seriously and governments must enforce it. In recent weeks, some people have ridiculed Italy and our approach, while they should have been learning from us."
Although the UK blockade is not yet as strict as in Italy, France or Spain, the country feels transformed. Parts of London are deserted, even if parks and public transport are not. It may well be that the UK government will soon impose even tougher measures. But that may not be the only change.
"People will only truly understand once their family, friends, or neighbors begin to die of coronavirus," says Matteo Ferrari. "When it touches you personally, it is when you change your behavior."