Lockdown to be lifted in Italy: a Reflection.

It has been a week now, since Christians in most of the world have celebrated the eeariest and oddest Good Friday most of us can remember. It was on Good Friday when we first heard that things in Italy were improving, but equally, that such good news was only a glimpse of hope as things would have not been changing for a while. Last week, we were given a deadline for our quarantine, as of today, the date of the end of the lockdown hasn't changed. We are still waiting for that 3rd May, the Fourth Sunday after Easter. It is a cause of joy to me that we will be freed during this Easter season. 

As of this morning, Italians are waking up to even more positive news, as Central and Southern Italy have almost vanquished the dreaded plague, the government is looking into relaxing all the various restrictions at different stages before May 4th, with bookshops and children's clothing stores reopening on Monday, and with the fashion, design, and car industry restarting on 27th April, being those so important to Italian economy - with parks, restaurants, bars and perhaps museums reopening on that day. This will certainly be a cause of joy for a population which has effectively been put under home arrest since 9th March, in a country that has reinforced the tightest restrictions of their kind in the Western empisphere. It is incredibly heartening to be able to see an end to this after all these weeks, when we have all been feeling like we were waiting for Godot.

The fact that restrictions are being relaxed does not mean that we will be completely free. This comes at the high cost of the many victims that we have lost to the virus. We keep remembering and praying for them, and at the last we wait for a moment when we will be able to mourn them fully and collectively, among them are also the many doctors, nurses and civil servants. What needs to be clear is that the quarantine is not a solution to the issue, but it has perhaps managed to delay the spreading of the virus. The strife won't be over until a vaccine is found, and while restrictions will thankfully come down, and as we are seeing a ray of hope, we will have to follow all the social rules that we have learnt throughout these months, or either, March will happen again.

This is not another post about the Coronavirus outbreak in itself, this time I wanted to remember another type of victim that has fallen under the yoke of the various difficulties that have ensued in the past few months. My mind goes out to the millions throughout the world who have lost their job and are at risk of poverty, 25 million people in the US alone, and about 5 here in Italy. We pray for all those victims, financial or factual, who are a consequence of what has been going on. We pray for all the people who have taken their lives. We remember those who cannot afford to feed their family at this time, and in the next few years. We pray for all those who suffer from mental health conditions, for whom, being able to go out is essential; for those who are depressed, for those who are on the spectrum, and many other diseases which require activity out in the open. 

This outbreak, the worst crisis the world has seen since World War Two, will be a dark spot that will mark this century. My thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their families of course, of those who died because of complications caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, whom I remembered extensively in previous articles, but also to those who died because of the economic and mental health consequences that were caused by the lockdown. I think of those children who will not see their friends at critical stages in their upbrining, I think of those young lovers who have not been able to meet and foster their relationships, I think of those young couples waiting to get married, I remember those not-so-young people waiting to celebrate anniversaries with their families or friends which mean comfort and life to them, and I remember especially those who know they will not see another semester in their life, and who have been denied that last party, that last holiday, that last hug or kiss. 

How many have been wondering how many people are going to perish? Are the consequences of all these restricting measures going to kill or make people poorer? Will they increase or worsen the cases of mental illness? I don't know the answer to this, but certainly I know how we all went from worry to sadness, from fear to anger, and finally we are seeing an end to this. This crisis has hit people in various ways - so when this is all over, be responsible until the ultimate solution is found - these lockdowns cannot last for ever or they will kill or damage more people than the virus itself. Italy has been at war for months, but soon the time will come for the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries all over the world - this article is meant to address any of these situations. The end of this pandemic will be a cause of celebration but also of remembrance, for the many victims caused by the pandemic and by the lockdowns. While we are seeing a gleam of light and hope, the battle won't be over until a vaccine is found. Therefore, I urge everyone to keep being responsible, I cannot say this often enough.

The Prayer Book Gospel from St. Luke for the coming First Sunday after Easter reads: and he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his Name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. Let that Resurrection joy come hastily during this Easter Season.


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