(TMU) — As 60 million people in Italy face an unprecedented government-ordered quarantine in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, people are struggling to keep their spirits high as they cope with what amounts to a house arrest affecting the entire nation.
Restaurants, cafes, bars, retail spaces, movie theaters, and museums remain shut down until at least March 25, with only grocery stores, pharmacies, and newsstands remaining accessible to the people of the Mediterranean nation.
Despite it all, residents of Italy’s cities have taken to their balconies, terraces, and windows to sing patriotic songs, the national anthem, and old folk tunes as a means to cope with the worst national emergency the country has faced since World War II.
In one video shared to Twitter, residents of the Tuscan city of Siena can be heard at night uniting to sing popular folk song Canto della Verbena (And While Siena Sleeps). In the post, user valemercurii wrote:
People of my hometown #Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian #Covid_19 #lockdown.#coronavirusitalia #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/7EKKMIdXov
— valemercurii 🌍 (@valemercurii) March 12, 2020
In another video, residents of Naples can be heard singing the pop song Abbracciami by pop star Andrea Sannino.
Italy. People locked inside turn to their windows and balconies singing so everyone feels less lonely. Here is #Naples singing "Abbracciame" (Hug me). #Coronavirus #CoronavirusUSA pic.twitter.com/DHVPvxbB8d
— Ryan Meilak (@rmeilak) March 13, 2020
On Saturday, residents stuck in their homes clapped for several minutes in a dramatic gesture of thanks to the country’s medical professionals, hospital staff, and ambulance crews who have been working around the clock on the front lines of the CoViD-19 outbreak, treating, and helping the wave of patients infected by the deadly virus.
JUST IN: A whole neighborhood in Italy is singing “The UST Hymn” while they’re on lockdown and self-quarantined.
Aww, this song's popularity is unbelievable pic.twitter.com/MHz8ucg1id
— seonsaengnim (@ThatDebonair) March 16, 2020
Emma Santachiara, 73, who joined the applause with her granddaughters from her apartment’s terrace in the Monteverde section of Rome, told the New York Times:
“It was from our hearts, to say thanks and show that we can get past this.”
The social media posts have even spread as far as China, where the novel virus first emerged in December. The Guardian reports that Chinese social networks have shared the posts expressing solidarity with the people of Italy, saying “jiāyóu” which roughly translates to “add oil” or “keep up the fight” and “stay strong.”
Dramatic video from Wuhan, which has faced a lockdown since the end of January, depicts residents chanting “Wuhan jiāyóu” in a show of solidarity.
On Sunday, Italy reported that 368 people had died from the coronavirus in a 24-hour span, bringing the death toll from the novel virus to 1,809—the worst toll reported outside of China.
Hospitals in northern Italy have been stretched close to breaking point as the country scrambles to make up for its initial lack of preparedness and the confusion that greeted the virus.
But while the people of Italy are facing a trial that seemed unimaginable in modern times, they aren’t willing to take it lying down. Instead, their response to the tragedy has been infused with the sense of humor, musical bravado, and love for life that Italians are known for.
— Shana M (Coronavirus Updates) (@shana2727) March 16, 2020