March 3, 2020 / 6:04 PM / a month ago

Lockdown: Not everyone unhappy about life in Italy's red zone

SAN FIORANO, Italy (Reuters) - Life in quarantine is wearing thin for many residents shut off from the outside world in towns at the heart of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, but not everyone is unhappy.

Life inside a red zone: 2-year-old Bianca Toniolo looks on a phone at an illustration of a microscopic view of the new coronavirus, which she says looks like the sun, at home on a rainy day in San Fiorano, one of the towns in northern Italy on lockdown due to a coronavirus outbreak, in this picture taken by her father Marzio, March 2, 2020. Marzio Toniolo/via REUTERS

Marzio Toniolo, a 35-year-old teacher who sends Reuters daily accounts and videos from the so-called red zone, lives in a small house with his wife, daughter and grandparents, with other friends and relatives regularly dropping in.

While his grandfather, who suffers dementia, is getting increasingly confused and angry about a situation he cannot fully fathom, his two-year-old daughter Bianca is loving all the attention she is getting by having so many people to play with.

“The fact that there is her grandfather, my father, her great grandparents and her parents for her, it is the best thing that could happen because she can play with everyone and spend her time in the best way possible,” says Toniolo.

The adults are finding it more difficult.

“Living together is becoming more and more complicated because there are six of us, very close together and it is easy to get irritable,” Toniolo explains, saying his grandfather Gino Verani, 87, is particularly upset by the new reality.

“Maybe due to the fact that many people have come to our house these days and it is a strange situation for him, he is confused and we are trying to distract him, letting him draw or take part in other activities,” he said.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Italy jumped to 79 on Tuesday from 52 the day before, while the total number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst-affected country climbed past the 2,500 mark.

The vast majority of cases have been registered in Lombardy and even 12 days into their enforced isolation, ambulances still pass through the streets of San Fiorano on a regular basis, possibly rushing new coronavirus sufferers to hospital.

“We have got used to hearing the sound of ambulances or to see the ambulances that pass by very quickly repeatedly throughout the day,” Toniolo said.

Reporting by Eleanor Biles; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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