Rosemary McAllen Bucella, who is originally from Castledawson but now lives in Italy, is urging people to take the coronavirus more seriously.
A County Derry woman living in Italy has delivered a stark warning around the spread of coronavirus and blasted ‘irresponsible’ people who are still behaving as normal.
Rosemary McAllen Bucella lives just outside Varese, in the Italian region of Lombardy, and has been self-isolating as, at 72 years old, she falls into an at-risk category.
She told DerryNow: “People have to stay at home, it’s the only solution. We have to stay at home to isolate this virus, there’s nothing else for it.
“I look at Milan and it’s getting worse. People are not staying at home - they say 40% of people in Milan are still moving around.
“It’s totally irresponsible, they don’t realise how this can affect their own family.
“Especially young people who will be carriers go back home to their family and friends and can be carrying the virus.
“It can’t just be recommended, it has to be done for your own safety. Once we realised how dangerous it was, the government started to act and made rules.
“People that go out risk being arrested. If we go from our townland to pick up shopping in a supermarket, we have to download a certificate from the internet and fill it in.
“If we’re stopped by the police, we can show them that and they’ll check it.”
Rosemary lives in quite a remote area, but she is keen to warn people at home that this is no guarantee of protection from the spread of coronavirus.
She said: “In Italy, people are dying like flies.
“I would say we’re quite lucky because we don’t come into close contact with people, but there have still been a couple of deaths.
“The terrible thing about this is that when they’re ill, they need to go to intensive care and that’s it. They don’t see another person in their family. If they die, they die alone.
“They’re put in a coffin, there’s no one near them, there’s no funeral. They’re taken to be cremated and perhaps eventually, the relatives will get the ashes.
“They get a phone call to say the person has passed on and that’s it, they can’t even have a funeral.”
The Castledawson native has pleaded with people back home to take the warnings seriously and stay away from crowds.
She said: “I’ve been telling them; please, please stay away from people, don’t go into crowds. It’s vitally important that they stay at home in their own houses.
“In a little place like Northern Ireland, they have to act quickly. It’s vital. Since family life in Ireland is important, people visit each other all the time.
“They have to stop that. You can telephone, you can Skype. If you can look after yourself, they can stay out. They will have plenty of time to see them once this is all over,” added Rosemary.
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