Return to the patient number one, in the “Wuhan”Italian

Retour au patient numéro un, dans le «Wuhan italien»

Retour au patient numéro un, dans le «Wuhan italien»

To Codogno, the scene is almost a postcard to the Italian, if not the surgical masks on all the faces, and the distances maintained between individuals.

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22 may 2020 22: 50

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Return to the patient number one, in the “Wuhan”Italian

Francesco Gilioli

Agence France-Presse

Miguel Medina

AFP – Agence France-Presse

CODOGNO — It is here that everything began, in mid-February. Small sleepy town of Lombardy, in northern Italy, Codogno, the city of “patient number one”, found a bit of freedom as Italy déconfine, but warned the stigma of the “shock” of the coronavirus and the fear of a return of the epidemic.

This middle of the week, the sun illuminates in a day almost ordinary spring the cobbled squares and the terraces of pizzerias between which slaloment bicycles.

As in the whole of the Italian peninsula, cafes, restaurants and shops have started to reopen Monday at Codogno, a new stage of the déconfinement in a country traumatized by a pandemic that has claimed more than 32 000 lives in three months.

At the foot of the elegant buildings of pink and yellow from the city center, adolescents, eaten ice cream and espressos. The angelus bell tower of the red brick church calls the faithful to the mass, while the religious celebrations are again authorized.

The scene is almost a postcard to the Italian, if it was not for the surgical masks on the faces of all, and the distances carefully maintained between individuals.

“The meteorite coronarivus”

“It all seemed so distant and suddenly it was there, among us!” remembers Maria Luisa Brizzolari, a lawyer of 46 years.

“This story is behind us now, but it is as if it was always there just hidden somewhere…”

“To discover that the virus of which we hear so much about in China was come to be here has had a psychological impact enormous. ”


Maria Luisa Brizzolari, a lawyer of 46 years

On 20 February, the first case of coronavirus infected in Italy, and not China, is officially announced in the small town of 15 000 inhabitants, about 60 km south-east of Milan.

The “patient number 1” is a 38-years old man, Mattia Maestri, a part of the anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever. This great sportsman, who, however, is not left on a trip recently, just to be taken care of three days earlier to the local hospital for fever, cough and breathing difficulties.

His pregnant woman is infected, her father dies shortly after of the virus. The cases are multiplying among the visitors of the hospital and customers of the cafés just around the corner.

On 21 February, the government ordered the closure of all the city, and nine surrounding towns.

“The meteorite coronavirus has fallen here,” recalls the prefect of the province of lombardy Lodi, Marcello Cardona, himself fell sick.

“In one night we invented the lockdown,” which has “helped to organize the defence of health of Milan, of Italy and of Europe,” he told this week in the columns of the daily newspaper La Repubblica.

“The doctors and the health workers were suddenly very clear : Codogno was considered to be the Wuhan [chinese city of origin of the virus| Italian and Lombardy as the Hubei [chinese province of origin] of the country. There was no time to lose : he had to follow the chinese example and close them all”.

The city of the plague

“It was the most fierce of wars, because we did not see the enemy,” remembers Giancarlo Barcelesi, a retired.

The city breathes again, but she will not soon forget, summarizes the Father Iginio Passerini, 72 years of age. In the spirit of all, Codogno is “view now as a city pestiférée,” says Paula Visigalli, 20 years. “I hear that people want to come here to see where all of this has happened… But there is nothing to see, Codogno is a town like any other”.

Retour au patient numéro un, dans le «Wuhan italien»

As in the whole of the Italian peninsula, the shops have started to reopen Monday at Codogno, a new stage of the déconfinement in a country traumatized by a virus, which has claimed over 32 000 lives in three months.

AFP Miguel Medina

For the lawyer, Maria Luisa, city will inevitably be “always associated with the virus”, but it can also be “a way of remembering the strength of the population” as of the manner in which it has faced, does she want to believe.

A fear that is widely shared by the local population : that the lifting of restrictions will result in a resurgence of the disease.

“Everyone is afraid of having to cloister themselves once again to be forced to keep his distance, that all this hell starts again in the somme!”, explains Laura Sbardi, a bartender of 25 years.

Cesare Gambazza, a merchant, is one of those — many of Codogno — concerned with the general relaxation. People are “too relaxed. They think that it is finished, but we really don’t know!”, he says.

“To be honest, I’m scared of certain behaviors,” says Fanny Zafferri, nurse man in his fifties who has worked at the side of patients infected.

She remembers the “chaos” of the early days of the epidemic. Days “scary” and might well come back, ” she says. Somehow, the situation was no longer safe for the containment…”

Le Soleil

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