Former UO student shares experiences in Italy amid coronavirus lockdown

The virus has claimed more than 630 lives in Italy.

Posted: Mar 10, 2020 6:49 PM

ITALY -- Italy has been placed under lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than 630 people.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has advised people in the country to not leave their homes and to avoid travel.

RELATED: CORONAVIRUS SPARKS TOTAL LOCKDOWN IN ITALY AND ALARM IN THE US AS CASES RISE GLOBALLY

Kim Eitner graduated from the University of Oregon in 2011 and studied abroad in Italy during her undergraduate studies. She moved to Italy in 2018 and currently works with CIMBA Italy Study Abroad Programs.

While Eitner, who lives in northern Italy, is affected by the lockdown, she said it has not changed her day-to-day life drastically.

“I’m no more concerned than I would be if I were at home,” Eitner said. “I feel like my age group is not severely affected. If my family were here, I would be more concerned for my grandparents.”

Eitner said that the streets are noticeably empty, but the restaurants and shops where she lives are open. The public, however, has been advised not to leave their province.

“Mostly I’m just sad that the students here didn’t get to finish out their experience here,” Eitner said. “Other people are having to cancel plans, like my mom was going to come visit next month, but she’s no longer able to do that.”

Eitner said that those in Italy find it interesting how the United States is reacting to the virus.

“We feel like it’s been blown up a lot over there,” Eitner said. “People are panicking and going out and buying crazy things. It’s kind of interesting to experience that from this side where it’s the red zone and yet it feels more calm and contained.”

Overall, Eitner said she will still be taking every precaution to protect herself from the spread. Her thoughts are with the students who were not able to gain their full study abroad experience.

“It hasn’t really changed my plans at all at this point. It’s just changed that the students I was working with, the undergraduate students, had to be sent home," she said.

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