VENICE is an eerie ghost town, its magic of centuries replaced by fear and disbelief, (writes Sharon Feinstein).
Until now, the world was worried that Venice would sink, flood, or collapse from the toll of 27 million tourists a year. Instead, something very different has happened… the people have gone.
Not a single plane in the sky, no motorboats along the Grand Canal or a gondola in sight. As of today, we have been ordered to stay at home.
All life has stopped.
Only supermarkets and pharmacies remain open, with long queues outside – three people are allowed in at a time.
You can only leave home for food or medicine once every two days, and you must produce your “pass”, effectively a visa, reminiscent of the war.
Police stalk the streets. Hospital beds are spilling into the corridors and corpses are piling up.
Until today the elderly were still walking around and meeting in cafes, maybe spreading the virus.
First world Italy is in deep medical crisis.These draconian measures have been taken in an attempt to limit the contagion.
The news came in waves, delivered in the middle of the night, each more shocking. First we couldn’t travel around Italy and were deemed part of the yellow zone. Then restaurants and bars were ordered to close at 6pm.
I came here to write a novel. Now we are locked in.
The governor of Veneto has pleaded with Italians in the north, where the virus is virulent, to stay at home.
Venice has experienced three bubonic plagues in the past. No one expected 2020 to bring the fourth.