What Boris Johnson does not understand about Italy


Last week, the Wolrd Health Organization released a video about the Italian response to the Covid-19 situation and praised what the Goverment, the health system and its operators, as well as the whole population did in the past few months to counteract the pandemic, leading the Country to be now the least impacted context in Europe.

At the same time Mr. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, spoke about it and said that the Brits are doing worst than the Italians against the covid because they enjoy their freedom so much and they hardly accept limitations and restrictions…

…as if the Italians were not free or do enjoy feeling miserable in their homes.

Mrs. Johnson’s speech caused a reaction by the President of the Italian Republic, Mr. Sergio Mattarella, who is a very quiet and responsible person who never speaks out of the line and especially never out of necessity. But he also coulnd’t stand such words and replied that not only the Italians love and enjoy their freedom but they do also respect each other’s right to stay in good health. It is at times of catastrophies that the Italians do get together and cope with the circumstance: be it a earthquake, a flood or a pandemic.

Mole Antonelliana – Torino

That is exactly what Mr. Johnson does not know well about the Italians. We might be noisy, we migh be not well organised, we might be funny and in some cases we also are a bit superficial, but we are definitely responsible and serious people when the common interest calls.

At the begining of the pandemic, being the first Country seriously hit by the virus, out of China, we were scared to death. Watching scenes on tv about military trucks taking dozens of coffins out of the hospitals in Bergamo, getting to learn how many new cases were detected every day at 6.00 pm during the daily press conference of the Civil Protection, and getting to know how many were dying without even a chance to say one last goodbye to their loved ones or being deprived the possibility of having a funeral, was very devastating.

Those are the reasons why we did the lockdown perfectly. Except some very few reckless idiots, the whole population stayed at home and went out just to go to grocery stores and buy food. Some industrial units were active, especially those that are essential for life such as food industries and farms, all the rest was closed thus there was no need to go out.

Secondarily the lockdown was not lifted all at once. There have been 3 steps. In the begining we were allowed to only visit our family members, then after 3 weeks we were allowed to go back to work, at those companies who counl’d make it with smart working, but have been allowed to move from one region to another only one months after the first ease of the restrictions.

Did we like it? Absolutely not. But we did it. We all felt it was a shared responsibility to protect each other, wear a face mask, sanitize our hands frequently and limit out social life for a while. Limiting our own freedom was not stupid neither selfish but rather the opposite: we limited our own freedom to keep the others safe. Wearing a face mask is not meant to protect ourselves from others but rather the opposite: it is meant to protect others from us because we might be the uncoincscious carrier of the virus, especially if we do not have symptoms.

Are we still respecting the restrictions? Yes and no. We do still wear face masks and we get very upset whenever we see somebody, especially those coming from abroad, who do not wear it. We do still sanitize out hands dozens of times a day, we do still try to avoid large gatherings, especially indoor ones. But we are back to our normal lives: we go out, we share a drink with our friends, we go to clubs and to work..always reembering to take a mask with us, avoiding unnecessary physical contacts and so on. It will all be for a limited period of time. We rather prefer to avoid kissing every time we meet as we were used to do for a while than getting to a point that won’t be able to do it anymore.

Are we still scared? Yes. Not much for us, but for all the Countries around us: France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and also UK. We have seen too many dying, we have seen how the virus can distroy the economy, we have seen how much it is important to respect the rules as a common interest. We all have a stake in preventing the virus from further ourbreaking.

I am under the impression that Mr. Johnson didn’t learn the lesson yet.

What about you? What was your reaction to Covid so far? are you still scared or not?

6 thoughts on “What Boris Johnson does not understand about Italy

  1. First, let’s all admit that Boris Johnson, like Donald Trump, is an IDIOT! Now that I have that out of the way, we should all recognize that we should have followed and should continue to follow the lead example of Italy as a country and it’s people as leaders in how to manage, cope with and move forward during this terrible pandemic. My husband and I look to Italy to guide our behavior and so to this date, here in the U.S. we remain at home except for groceries, necessary medical appointments and needed repair materials. We want to be able to live to the future and look back and know that we have done our part.

    Thank you Matteo for sharing your words which are touching, eloquent and on point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sue. To be honest with you it doesn’t happen very frequently to get a government that performs well. Incredibly enough we got the chance to have a very good guy as prime miniter (Mr. Giuseppe Conte). who understood it was a randez-vouz with history, and replied accordingly. Then we all did our best to keep the virus under control. It’s not pleasant at all, but it seems it worked out well. Now we are scared of a possible second wave because just across the borders the situation is pretty bad. That is why, we keep on behaving accordring to the rules.

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  2. As a Brit living abroad I worry about all my friends and family back in the UK. It seems they weren’t ready even though everyone knew we were due a pandemic. My loved ones are doing as they’re advised – but that advise sadly changes daily depending which way the wind is blowing. We’re currently living in a country which takes this very seriously and for that I’m grateful. From the offset Singapore has required everyone to wear masks, but the UK said initially it was just for medical staff, if only they had heeded advise early. I could go on and write a whole blog post also, but I’ll stop. Stay safe.

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    • I get you perfectly Dee. There were several different voices here also about wearing or not a face mask, where and when…but then. it is up to us to make our own decision, thus even in those areas where face masks were not mandatory (some regional administrations said it was not necessary), the large majority of us kept using them even when outside. I believe it is a shared responsibility of all: the government and the citizens. When rulers do not take correct initiative, we should take them individually and as a community for the benefit of us all.

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  3. Well Matteo
    Here in Israel we were first to get into lockdown, and that brought to very little death and a quick reduction of the R. That caused some devastating results as now we are in a crazy infection rate and in a second lockdown.
    Israel is a very divided, heterogenous society with many “Tribes”: Israeli seculars, Orthodox Jews who listen only to their senile conservative rabbis, Palestinian Israelis, who, in fact were lucky to have a responsible religious leadership which closed the mosques, including the Noble Sanctuary, alAqsa on Ramadan in the first lockdown, but could not resist social pressures and went to mass gatheings in the traditional Wedding season. Now adays the high numbers are mainly in the Jewish Orthodox quartes where there is poverty and many live in densy populted quarters. Most secular Israelis behaved responsibly but worst were some of the the intelligensia, who because of the low numbers became Covid deniers, developing conspiracy theories, instigating young people to go out and party, and deciding that this was the right moment to vent out frustrations for having lost the election (again) to Netanyhu, with mass demonstrations in front of his house in Jerusalem. They set a bad example and undermine rules the government experts are advising as political conspiracy. I know this happens elsewhere as well and there were voices like that in Italy, but here they have too much influence. We can only pray for the best.

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    • Hi David, thanks for sharing this. I am following the news about what is going on in Israel with a huge concern. The Country was stuck to some 16.000 cases just a couple of months ago. I believe the current situation is the result of easing restrictions too quickly and the response of the people to that. You are right, there are some deniers here in Italy also but thankfully they are not as many as some politician want us to believe, there are some conspiracy theories supporters but thankfully they do not deny the virus, they just believe it’s a sort of tool to get more control over us… I hope your co nationals will take the current situation seriously and despite what the governmet will tell you to do, they will keep using every possible preventive measure as long as they can.

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