The US is only recently getting a taste of the ‘lockdown’ that’s been in effect for several countries in Europe, notably Italy and Spain.
I asked a couple of my contacts in Europe about what life under lockdown has been like. Esther lives in Barcelona, Spain, and is a project manager for a large company. Kyt lives in Milan, Italy. You might recognize her as the author of a recent series on tracking for preppers. She travels a lot as a tracking instructor.
I sent them both a series of questions about what it’s been like since their countries went into lockdown. Remember, neither country has a federalized government system like we do in America, so while their regions have some autonomy and self-governance, the shut-down orders came directly from their federal governments. — Pat
The Prepper Journal: When did the lockdown go into effect?
Esther: March 13 at 10pm
Kyt: It was declared official on March 10th, after a week of uncertainty about the whole situation. The first zones to be declared “RED” were Lombardia and Veneto. Because they are regions within the country (somewhat like your states), You can imagine how the panic started crawling into people’ minds…we are talking about millions of people.
TPJ: What warning / how much warning did you have in your region for the lockdown?
Esther: Almost none.
Kyt: It was immediate, but there was some warning. The night before, hundreds of citizens tried to catch the night and overnight trains in order to reach their relatives, mostly located in South of Italy. Quite a massive exodus.
TPJ: Where were you when the government order came?
Esther: At my home in Barcelona.
Kyt: I was already locked in at home. I kind of barricaded myself in on March 3rd. The terrible news started spreading fast around the last weekend of February. At that time, I was leading two tracking courses in Rome, so I got home as quickly as I could.
TPJ: Where are you now? How long have you been there? When can you go home?
Kyt: At home, reducing my “coming out” just to purchase food. As mentioned above, we’ve been under lockdown since March 3rd! I haven’t seen my parents since that date.
TPJ: Did you have extra clothes or supplies? This would seem a perfect situation for having a ‘bugout bag’, but with extra clothes and day-to-day items like shampoo, etc.
Kyt: As I consider myself a prepper, I have always two bugout bags prepared, within easy reach, that contain all the necessary gear: rations, water purification systems, fire starting kit, medical kit, extra clothing, several good blades, sleeping bag and so on. I have plenty of food and potable water, as I have always kept my pantry fully assorted. If I had to, I would opt to reach a second house in the mountains, where I can get all I need for myself and my parents.
TPJ: Can you go out at all, or must you stay in the house/apartment all the time? How do you get food?
- We only can go outside if we have to buy food, buy medicine, go to work or go for a walk with our dogs
- You have to go outside alone. Only can go accompanied if you are disabled
- If you must drive, you must go alone in your car
- If you don’t obey the law, you will have a fine, from 100€ to 1 year in prison. Most of the fines are 600€ (about $107 and $647, respectively- TPJ)
Kyt: I must stay at home, but I can get out ONLY in the areas near my residence. I purchase food in a small supermarket that is within walking distance. I consider myself extremely lucky for that.
TPJ: What’s the situation with COVID-19 in your region?
Esther: The situation is not good at all. Less than 20% rooms available in the ER, and no masks or gloves are available for sanitary workers, so they are working with no protection.
Kyt: At the time I wrote this, the death toll has exceeded 5,000 in whole Italy. In my region, Lombardia, it has reached 3,456, while people who are now totally recovered are 5,865. The contagious line seems to show a decrease in the last few days.
TPJ: How are your family and friends dealing with this?
Esther: All of us are at home. Except for me and my cousin, no one is working. My cousin works in a hospital and I’m able to work from home during this.
Kyt: Scared, but trying to hold on. Italians do have a lot of hope, and we survived the plague back in 1600!
TPJ: What advice do you have to readers of The Prepper Journal if they find themselves in this situation?
Esther: Try to not get nervous. Do some exercise and try to keep your mind busy.
Kyt: My sincere advice is to avoid any kind of contact and wash ALL the packages you get at the grocery stores, Walmart and so on. You never know who touched them before you. Eat a lot of honey and chili peppers in order to help strengthen your immune system. Obviously, never touch your nose, mouth and eyes. Try to vary your food and exercise at home! Since you will be precluded of getting out, your body needs to gain as much as strength as possible. Sweating is good!