Coronavirus Creates Tensions and Prejudices on Italian Beaches | News from the world

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Tensions erupted on the beaches and holidaymakers in Lombardy reported cases of discrimination during the first Italian summer since the start of the coronavirus epidemic.Residents of Codogno in Lodi province, the first city in the Lombardy region to be severely affected by quarantine, said attempts to book vacations elsewhere in Italy had been postponed after revealing that they would be traveling from an old “red zone”.

Among them, Davide Passerini, who lives in Codogno but is mayor of the small town of Fombio, another quarantined area very early. His reservation for accommodation for a weekend in Tuscany was rejected after the owner discovered he was from Codogno.

“Even if these are rare episodes, prejudice makes you very bitter,” said Passerini. “This is the result of the ignorance of those who do not understand that people coming from the first red zones are today probably less likely to bring the virus because the level of contagion in these places is now close to zero and for a long time. But in the minds of some people, Codogno remains synonymous with an infectious disease. ”

In a phone call to an Italian radio program last week, a couple from another area hard hit by the virus said they were turned back at the reception of a hotel on the pretext that the establishment was full.

At the same time, anger rises with the temperature as people scramble for space on crowded public beaches, where safety rules are rarely observed. On a beach in Ostia, near Rome, last weekend, a 20-year-old woman was slapped after asking a beach colleague to move her towel because there was no safe distance between them .

Marina Marzari, a Venetian psychologist, said her recent experience on a beach in the Marche region went from “heaven to hell” in a matter of hours as large groups descended throughout the day.

“It was the heaviest crowd I have ever known,” she said. “There were no masks and not even the slightest distancing respected. It’s really dangerous. ”

Marzari called the local police several times, but no one came to patrol the beach.

“We have all made sacrifices in the past few months, but we feel taken for a ride after staying at home for so long, because when we go out, situations like this are not safe. If I get sick from something similar, I will file a complaint against the state. ”

Safety rules in private establishments, where people can rent sun loungers and umbrellas, have been easier to follow.

Even if the requirements are similar for free beaches, such as groups of four people maximum sitting together while maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters from others, and beach games prohibited, they were more difficult to control.

Coronavirus deaths in Italy – graphic

But some areas are starting to act. Authorities from Ischia, an island off Naples, last week imposed a known exclusion law DASPO in Italy, this will ban those who flout beach safety rules for the rest of the summer season.

Enzo Ferrandino, the mayor of Ischia, told local newspapers: “The right to go to the beach safely must be defended. We owe it to those who deserve a little more respect on an island that is sometimes overwhelmed by selfishness. »

In Bordighera, a seaside town in Liguria, flight attendants have been hired to patrol public beaches, and a similar move is planned by authorities in Salerno, Campania.

The rate of transmission of coronaviruses in Italy has slowed considerably since the lock-in restrictions began to be relaxed in May, despite the emergence of clusters across the country which are mainly due to imported infections. People have been able to travel between regions since early June.

But as they adapt to living with the virus, risk judgments have polarized people’s attitudes and behaviors.

“When there is high social anxiety, this is typical,” said Giuseppe Pantaleo, social psychologist at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan. “So either we treat everyone as a potential source of infection, which has some justification, because the data is still just as bad in other countries, or we go to the opposite extreme and totally deny the risk . “

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