Our work overseas

Covid-19 is devastating Italy

But rainbows offer a ray of hope all over the country. “Andrà tutto bene"

UNICEF Italy’s Social Media Manager, Alberto Atzori, shares a first-hand account of how Covid-19 is disrupting lives.

“The situation here is pretty bad. It looks like being in war, only we cannot see the enemy. We are afraid that the worst has yet to come, not only for us but for Europe and maybe the rest of the world.”

When the novel coronavirus outbreak started at the beginning of the year, we never imagined that just a couple of months later, Italy would be on the frontlines of a new pandemic.

It is strange how historic events can be triggered by small and trivial details. A 38-year-old businessman from Lodi, in the heart of Lombardy went out for dinner with colleagues, one of whom had just returned from overseas. Four days later he was fighting for his life.

Every day the number of cases rise – 475 deaths in one day alone. It feels like we are at war, but we cannot see the enemy.

The enemy is among us. It can jump off a cough or a sneeze and it can hide inside a friend or a passer-by. We are forced to wear masks to protect ourselves and avoid contact with others.


Playgrounds are empty

My country was once full of energy but now it is a ‘red zone’. We are motionless, curled up in a ball. The schools have closed. So are the restaurants and cinemas, offices, shops, museums, churches and parks. If we want to buy food, we have to fill out a form before leaving home, stating where we live and where we want to go. We can jog or walk the dog as long as we are alone and keep a "droplet distance" of 1.5 meters from each other. Police monitor the streets every day, but the strict rules are followed. Italians show a sense of order and civic correctness that would surprise many foreign observers.

Smart working and e-learning have taken the place of offices and schools. To overcome the sense of isolation, virtual flash mobs are planned and communicated through social media. Every day people join together across the country. We are singing, we are applauding health staff and illuminating the night skies with our flashlights and mobile phones. It’s a fun way to connect with our community and keep stress under control.

Rays of hope
Rays of hope

UNICEF are supporting children through the emergency

UNICEF are supporting children and families throughout this emergency. Every day we are updating our information page and posting creative ideas for children www.unicef.it/covid19. Although children and young people are less likely to get sick from this virus, they’re still missing out on going to school and seeing their friends.

🌈🌈🌈All over Italy, children have been painting rainbows as messages of hope. “Andrà tutto bene” means “everything will be fine” in Italian. It is beautiful to see. 🌈🌈🌈

Rays of hope
Rays of hope

We have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent the virus from reaching the poorest countries, whose fragile health systems could collapse under the impact of this pandemic. It’s a race against time to get to children who need us but together we will get through this.

UNICEF is working to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. We're providing urgently needed hygiene and medical supplies including gloves and masks. We urgently need your help to reach communities that need us most.