Coronavirus: Italians abroad spread “I stay at home” message

The hashtag #iorestoacasa, or “I stay at home”, has been spreading across social media in Italy as Italians face weeks of lockdown due to Coronavirus. Now a new hashtag, #covidhasnoborder, has been started by a group of Italians in Barcelona in order to appeal to those in other European countries to follow Italy’s suit and limit socialising to a minimum. The hashtage has now been picked up in countries across Europe, from France to Hungary. 

Many Italians abroad are following the situation closely in their home country and aware of the strict measures in place. They are now expressing their concerned about the slow reaction of other European countries in taking similar measures to reduce the spread of the virus. As Giulia Viviano writes on Twitter, “like many Italians abroad, I am worried about the lightness with which other states are confronting the situation.” She urges people to use the hashtag #covidhasnoborder to start a discussion. 

Other Italians abroad are now taking to Twitter to share the situation where they live. Salvo, who lives in Germany, writes, “Here in Germany people talk to me a metre from my face. They don’t have the first idea about the danger, because they are reassured by the media.” Barbara notes a similar situation in Budapest, Hungary. “This is being taken too lightly,” she says, “It’s a serious thing, let’s say at home.” Writing from Sweden, one Twitter user said, “we are desperate. The state hasn’t taken any preventative measures apart from banning gatherings of over 500 people.”

Roberto Burioni, Professor of Microbiology and Virology at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, has also expressed his concern. Commenting on Boris Johnson’s warning that many Britons could lose loved ones in the coming weeks, Burioni says, “China, in theory an authoritarian and ferocious regime, is doing everything to save its citizens.” In comparison, he comments, Britain, “a democracy of ancient tradition, cynically accepts the deaths of hundreds of thousands of citizens. Incredible.”

Some Italian influencers are using their large following on social media to disseminate the message via Instagram. Blogger Marco Cartasegna shared a video in Spanish on his Instagram page urging people to look at the situation in Italy. He writes, “The world needs to understand this virus knows no border. Please take advantage of our example and act now to prevent a huge crisis in your country.”

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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