‘No need to panic’: Keralite student on life in red-zone Italy

‘No need to panic’: Keralite student on life in red-zone Italy
Salja David Thottunkal from Mulanthuruthi near Ernakulam in Kerala is a student in Rome.

Rome: An Indian student in Rome said that she preferred to stay put in Italy despite the COVID-19 outbreak but some others were desperate to go home because they were not able to communicate with medical professionals effectively.

Italy is the worst-hit by the novel coronavirus in Europe. By Tuesday, Italy recorded 31,506 positive cases and 2,503 deaths, more than anywhere outside China. The entire country is in lockdown.

“Many people from my homeland call me up everyday to enquire about my situation,” said Salja David Thottunkal, a student in Rome.

“I want to tell them that there is no need to panic. I am safe at the movement. I hope to get exact treatment even if I am infected,” she told Manorama Online.


The student from Mulanthuruthi near Ernakulam in Kerala said that the Italian government was trying all it can to prevent the disease from spreading. Though northern Italy was the hub of infections in the country, places like Rome has also reported several cases

Italy has been declared a red zone for the severity of the outbreak. “Essential services such as medical stores and supermarkets are still open. We have been told to avoid going out unless it is an emergency. If you have to go out, you are supposed to carry a document explaining the need to do so,” Thottunkal said.

“Medical stores and supermarkets allow only one person at a time. Though public transport is still functional very few people use it. Roads are bereft of vehicles. Only very few people venture out of their homes,” she said.

She added that many students from Kerala have decided to stay back in Italy. “You have a high chance of getting infected when you go to the airport. Moreover, we do not want to create a panic in Kerala. So I have decided to stay here,” she said.

She said that they had been told to contact a government number in case of any symptoms. Medical professionals will go to the house of the person suspected of having the disease and treat them. A medical team from India had visited Rome.

Thottunkal said that some of the students who were new in Italy wanted to go back to India. “They are unable to communicate clearly with the doctors and medical professionals about their conditions. They may be taken back to India if they test negative for coronavirus.”

Thottunkal has been living in Italy for three years. She said that she had enough food supplies. She said she was confident of tiding over the crisis by following the guidelines issued by the government. She said medical stores did not have enough masks and sanitizers. She said she was in touch with other Malayali students in Italy through phone.

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