Cristina Scabbia: What Life Is Like Under Lockdown In Italy
Italy has borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. It was reported today that the country’s death toll has overtaken China’s and a nationwide lockdown has been in place since March 9, and Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia has been in the midst of it.
Here she tells us her hopes and fears, and reveals what conditions are like in Italy right now…
We’re seeing a lot of Italy on the news – what’s your experience of it all on the ground?
“Well I am in Milano, in my house. My experience is that it is a very, very strange time. We are in quarantine because that is the best and proven way to avoid more spreading of the virus. I’m reading a lot of news, looking at websites and I’m getting a lot of fake news – a lot of people are spreading panic and not information. But to be honest, the situation is really quiet. There’s a lot of silence. Everything’s stopped, basically. Of course, there are people who keep ignoring the rules and they keep on going out, therefore I believe some even stricter rules will be introduced. I posted the picture with the middle finger yesterday. I tried to be nice and kind, but I think that sometimes you have to be a little bit more aggressive with the people that don’t get it. And having a voice to use I thought, ‘You know what? They deserve to be shouted at.’”
Are you scared right now?
“Not for myself because I’m staying home and taking precautions, but I’m scared for my loved ones who are working in hospitals or grocery stores. I’m scared that everyone will lose someone. My brother works for a company of funeral services and he tells me stories that give me goosebumps. Yesterday a friend of mine lost her mom and she couldn’t even see her. They’re not doing funerals, they’re not allowing people to go visit their loved ones and that breaks my heart. That’s why I don’t understand why some inconsiderate, selfish people are taking it so lightly.”
There’s panic buying going on in the UK. Are we right in thinking that’s not been the case in Italy?
“No, the shops are open. You have to be smart and not go every day; you also have to think as a community. There is no craziness here because all the shops are full of stuff. There’s no reason to panic or buy loads of toilet paper – which is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard! You have to self-declare where you are going with a piece of paper where you write your name, address and identification. You can go out if you have essential work, have a medical appointment or to go grocery shopping. There might be police checking up on you and if they stop you, you have to have this paper. But there’s no need to freak out and panic. We need to be cautious but calm.”
Have you seen things that have made you proud during the crisis?
“It’s making me proud that most of the Italians are respecting the rules. The majority of us are staying collected because we know this is the only way to prevent the spreading and save Italy: hospitals are full, the situation is insane, we’re facing an economic crisis. The only way to get out is to get out altogether and that means co-operating and supporting each other.”
How have you been filling your own isolation time?
“I’m personally doing okay because I’m not sick and I’m not by myself. I read, I play video games, I sculpt and I work out a bit. I’m taking this time as a sort of spiritual retirement, because usually I’m not at home much. I’m learning to love all the stuff I’ve missed out on for all those years.”
Have you been doing any singing from the balconies?
“No. I’m very passionate and patriotic, but no, I didn’t do any of that (laughs)”
You’ve obviously had to cancel numerous Lacuna Coil shows – was that frustrating?
“Yes, it’s a very dark time for music and arts. It is frustrating and it’s sad, but we’re all in the same boat. It is madness because you have to consider that the livelihood of a band now is mostly on the road. That’s where you get the majority of your income, which you need to survive and keep on working. We were able to think ahead and cancel flights and tours, because we projected the situation. We thought ahead and thought about our health and the health of our friends. I know other bands that have lost a huge amount of money and it will be hard to get back on track because it will not get back to normal all at once. Fans might not have a lot of money because they didn’t work. It will be really hard but I’m staying positive because once you touch the bottom, you can only go up.”
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