December 6, TURIN, ITALY – The Leaves of Autumn Match Italy’s Color-Coded Lockdown

By Alessia Martino, TURIN, ITALY

The summer is long gone, and it is definitely autumn, almost winter even. I love the season and the colors: I love seeing the leaves turning yellow, orange, and red (ironic, read until the end). It has been a while since I experienced this here. As autumn got here, I felt more at home. I stayed at home, mostly. It is the season of changing for warmer blankets and any moment is good for a hot cup of tea.
Meanwhile, in general, Europe started experiencing a second wave (with the Czech Republic having the worst situation in terms of positives compared to population and compared to its success in the first wave). In Italy, not as much as expected was from returning to school. Some did better than others, sometimes going overboard to the ridiculous. If a disabled person falls, you can’t touch them, for example. A human, however, would still help, although with precautions. Being scared is one thing; being stupid is another. Blame gets put a lot on young people, but some ‘old’ ones are the real problem when it comes to mask-wearing, hand washing, and other precautions. Anyway, from 7th grade now, they have been doing 100% distance learning, like the previous term, while nursery, kindergarten, primary and 6th grade are allowed to do face-to-face learning while measures and precautions are in place.
Stupidity runs wild as some people still believe they can’t possibly ever been infected as nobody wants to be stigmatized due to having Covid, so people don’t stay home and get tested when they should. Covid is a ‘hoax’ and ‘masks take our freedom away.’ Let’s be honest. Not everything might be transparent, some advantage can be taken from the situation, but if a piece of cloth can take someone’s freedom, there is some life re-evaluation to do.
That being said, cases are going up again; new restrictions have been popping up like mushrooms. The state of sanitary emergency has been extended to the end of January. First, people couldn’t gather for private ‘events’ of more than ten people, although it has been strongly recommended to not gather in more than 6, even within a family. News at the end of October reported baptisms and weddings (which at that time could actually have 30 people) being busted and people being fined. Neighbors can report you and are invited to do so.

Other restrictions included stopping non-professional sports with contact and adding restaurant curfews. The latter implicated closure between midnight (11 pm in the hardest-hit region) and 5 am, with non-seating orders not available after 6 pm. Mask are increasingly worn everywhere. There is still non-compliance and hanging noses.

On November 6th, Italy, following the increase of cases and consequently adding of restrictions, entered a second, lighter lockdown where the country started implementing levels of closure, color-coding the regions in red, orange, and yellow, based on the severity of the situation and the corresponding localized lockdown measures. Red lockdown resembles the first lockdown, but with more jobs deemed essential (restaurants can do take away only). Yellow lockdown allows bars and restaurants to be open and interregional travels without papers, among its freedoms. Walks and exercise are always ok to do, no matter the color. Five regions started with red, and this was calculated by cases par capita and hospital places. For example, Calabria had only 300 cases but lacking the right infrastructures was put in red to be safeguarded.

Some regions have already shifted color for the better, but Italy is far from containing the virus.

Kai has been writing about the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown life since his first lockdown began in China on January 23, 2020. You can follow his fight against COVID-19 on his blog,, or find his first collection, Kai’s Diary (The Invisible War), the story of Chongqing’s battle against the COVID epidemic in book stores and on Amazon.

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