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Coronavirus quarantine: vital message from a Brit in Italy reveals reality of life in lockdown

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Kayleigh Dray
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You really, really need to read this woman’s no-bullshit coronavirus update.

This week, Boris Johnson asked everyone in the UK to avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others to curb coronavirus, after the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases hit more than 1,543 in the UK.

The key new government measures are:

  • Everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres
  • Everyone should work from home if they can
  • All “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease
  • If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days
  • People should only use the NHS “where we really need to”, and can reduce the burden on workers by getting advice on the NHS website where possible

Many have noted that the UK is now “three weeks” behind Italy – the worst-hit country in Europe. As such, people have begun to panic, particularly with regards to procuring food and other “essentials”.

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As reported by The Guardian, two major online supermarket websites crashed and imposed “virtual queues” for their shoppers yesterday as retailers battled to cope with the ongoing surge of online grocery orders. Aldi has introduced across-the-board rationing in a bid to combat panic-buying.

Store cupboard essentials, including dried pasta and tinned tomatoes, are rapidly selling out everywhere. And don’t even talk to us about toilet roll.

The hysteria has prompted Louise Chandler – who is currently living in Italy – to pen a brilliantly no-bullshit message to people in the UK.

“As a Brit living in Italy, here are some things you need to know,” she begins her viral Facebook post, which has been shared 31K times at the time of this article’s publication.

“Our supermarkets HAVE STAYED OPEN. They are on slightly reduced hours and you have to queue to get in (yes, it’s a ball-ache) but they are OPEN. EVERY DAY. Deliveries continue to arrive so for fucks sake, shop like NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS!”

Chandler continues: “Enforced social isolation does not mean you cannot leave your house. It means you can still leave your house for ESSENTIAL activity, like shopping. So put down the fucking pasta and toilet rolls and breathe. Now you don’t have to share a bed with your four kids because you’ve had to turn their rooms into store cupboards for all the pointless and selfish hoarding you are doing.”

Toilet rolls
Panic-buying: No, you don't need 20 more toilet rolls.

Chandler adds that “pharmacies are still open so you DO NOT NEED 236 bottles of Calpol, 429 packets of paracetamol and 987 Tubigrips”, and urges people reading to “step away from the goods, buy what you NEED, put back what you don’t”.

She finishes by saying: “The measures are extreme but they are not SO extreme that you need to be utter fuckers to each other…

“And let’s be honest, on the off chance that you do contract the virus, the last fucking thing you are going to want is a big bowl of pasta, 2ltrs of Fanta and a bumper pack of fucking Morrison’s sausage rolls.”

You can read the full post in all its sweary glory below:

As previously reported, the NHS has teamed up with Google, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to tackle the spread of coronavirus misinformation. However, it’s up to you to interrogate what you’re reading and ensure that you are not taking baseless claims at face value.

In the meantime, here are the dangerous coronavirus myths you should absolutely not be sharing and, on the flipside, 22 tweets you should be sharing in the fight against the Covid-19 infodemic

And please feel free to read and share our article on ’The truth behind the coronavirus headlines’, too.

Remember: if you think you might have coronavirus, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do, and also receive our 11-page Ultimate Guide To Making Your Home Feel Bigger.

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Images: Paul Carmona/Unsplash

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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