Well, it happened that during the first coronavirus outbreak in Italy, Demetris and I were there on vacation in Rome and Naples. What “luck”! You just can’t imagine what kind of panic fell among our relatives, friends, and acquaintances. They called us, wrote to us, asking how are we, and insisting on our speedy return to Greece and etc. And during this time, being pressured by everyone, we were actually enjoying our walk through the capital of Italy and we were about to head out to Naples.
Νο panic! In this post, I want to share our experience of traveling in southern Italy (Rome and Naples) during the coronavirus outbreak so that you can decide to cancel your trip or not. All my thoughts, that you will find below, are based only on my own personal travel experiences. I am not a doctor, journalist or analyst – just a passionate travel blogger who shares her ideas. You can agree with me or not, but I’m sure that for many travelers to Italy my information will be very useful and helpful.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus that infects both humans and animals. The name of the virus is associated with its structure, which looks like a “crown”. Human coronavirus was first isolated in 1965 from patients with respiratory infections. Coronaviruses include several types of viruses.
Not many people remember that in 2002-2003, an outbreak of SARS (one of the types of coronavirus) was recorded. The virus spread to other countries and took the life of 775 people.
In 2015, an outbreak of Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome occurred in South Korea, which killed 33 people.
Subsequently, in December 2019, a new outbreak of pneumonia began in China, caused by the newly discovered type of coronavirus. The virus is transmitted by airborne droplets, airborne dust or by contact. Unfortunately, the spread of coronavirus in winter and early spring is especially favorable.
What I want to say is that coronavirus is not the end of the world. Its various outbreaks have already been encountered before, although the current type spreads much faster. But we are not the heroes of the TV show “Walking Dead”, so don’t panic!
If you want to know more about the coronavirus outbreak, choose only trusted sources, such as the WHO.
The first day of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy was a bit unexpected and was a really awful “surprise” for all of Europe. Almost the entire north of Italy was threatened and especially the beloved city of Milan. As you can understand, the panic began…
For this day we planned a visit to the Vatican and tried to stay calm. It so happened that Dimitris had a toothache and we found a pharmacy to buy pain killers. At the same time, we decided, just in case, also to buy a couple of medical masks. Later we learned that they may not be helping at all and there are other masks No 95 that protect you better. Anyway, after we got everything from the pharmacy we headed for the Vatican.
By the way, can you imagine what this has done to the business of selling medical masks? High Peak Season…
So upon arrival at the Vatican Museums, we found a crowd. The last time I’ve seen so many tourists in a touristic area was at the Acropolis in Athens, and it wasn’t even as many.
This may sound silly, but we quickly put on our masks and tried to stay away from large groups of tourists.
You have to understand, that it takes around 14 days for the virus to become active in the human body. That’s why, before the first case was detected, we don’t know exactly how many tourists with the virus return to their homeland or to other cities in Italy.
As you understand, on the train to Naples we also wore our masks. Mass Paranoia at large!
Naples is a city far from the bustle! No masks, no panic, no discussions about coronavirus! We were so glad to be there! Finally, we can safely walk and relax. By the way, my mom lives not far from Naples and I am glad she is safe!
In Naples, a bunch of kids in carnival costumes was running around the streets, happy tourists were sitting in cafeterias and restaurants and enjoying the famous Naples pizza and its fantastically delicious ice cream.
It seems that Naples is hopefully a safe city to travel to and we actually enjoyed our visit, along with Pompeii’s archeological site.
The number of cases in Italy was growing every day and we had to return to Rome to fly back to Athens…
Tension in Italy grew about the coronavirus outbreak and our anxiety with it. We began to notice that many people coughed, so whoever started coughing, we started to run the other direction. We became sensitive to the sounds all around us and seeing most people not covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing was even more frustrating if not fearful.
Over the past three days, the number of tourists in Rome has decreased significantly, more and more people were wearing masks.
Imagine that on the bus to the airport, as soon as we heard that the woman sitting next to us, was coughing, we quickly moved back. We were really paranoid.
At the airport, all the Greeks were wearing medical masks, since Greece also had their first infection with coronavirus, and it was after their recent visit from Italy as well! The good news was that at that time, cases of coronavirus in Rome and Naples were not detected. To make you understand the depth of the panic in Greece, just imagine, my boss informed me to stay away from the office for 2 weeks! This is ridiculous and outrageous since I have not been infected.
So, should you cancel your trip to Italy?
I have to be honest with you, I did have a trip planned to Italy, 2 weeks after returning to Greece and I had to cancel it and transfer it to a later date. This is not because I’m afraid of the virus, but more of avoiding psychological stress. I really don’t want to go through the pressure we got from family, friends and even my boss!
If you have a planned trip to northern Italy, then, of course, it is better to cancel your vacation, especially since many countries impose sanctions on the return of tourists. Therefore, if you do not want to be quarantined for 14 days, it is better to postpone your trip.
A trip to Rome and southern Italy is also better to change to later months. The hotter the weather, the lower the spread of the virus. If you still decided to go on a trip to Italy, then just don’t afraid and have a great time.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak was detected in many European countries, so you can get infected everywhere.
Follow the most common safety and hygiene rules. Wash your hands often, do not stay near sick people, wear a mask in public places, drink a complex of vitamins to enhance your immunity, and of course, do not panic.
Italy is my favorite travel destination, and I can’t wait to come back there again. Take care and be healthy!
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