Lockdown Fatigue Is New Enemy In Italy’s Coronavirus Battle

Alexander Belenky

It’s been weeks since Italy declared a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and tensions are starting to rise.

“We don’t have a single euro left. We won’t last another week like this,” one resident of Palermo, Sicily, said in a video that has circulated online in recent days, warning that “revolution will break out” if the government fails to provide more relief.

“I can’t take it anymore. I’m about to collapse. They’re starving us,” said a shopkeeper in the southern Italian city of Bari.

In another video, a group of people shouted at police officers stationed outside a closed bank in the city.

“We don’t have any more food or money. My store has been closed for 20 days now. How am I supposed to live?” a man said.

“Please, come home with me and see for yourself. I have nothing left. I need something to eat,” said a woman.

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Particularly in Italy’s poorer southern regions, there is evidence that the initial solidarity that Italians displayed in response to the coronavirus outbreak appears to be fading, as residents chafe at the ongoing restrictions on daily life. Scenes of Italians singing from their balconies have given way to frustration and anger.

Last week, a man in Naples sparked a confrontation between customers and staff at a grocery store when he tried to obtain a few essential items — pasta, tomatoes, bread, oil — but was unable to pay. “This man has no money to pay, he can’t eat, he didn’t buy any champagne or wine, he bought the basics,” an onlooker argued with staff members.

Police were also called to a Lidl supermarket in Palermo last week when a...

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