Pregnant Aussie in Italy lockdown reveals fears
Exclusive: A pregnant Australian woman in lockdown in Milan says she is worried about her elderly Italian in-laws as the coronavirus grips the country.
But despite the panic, there is still ample food and toilet paper on the supermarket shelves, unlike in Australia.
Sally Davies, who works in Milan's fashion industry, has been holed up in her apartment in the northern Italian city as authorities ban all movement except for going to the supermarket or pharmacy.
Ms Davies, 35, who is expecting her first child in August, said that there was a concerned calm in Milan.
"My in-laws are elderly, my father-in-law is 81 and my mother-in-law is 78," she said.
"He has an underlying heart problem and doctors are saying people with pre-existing medical conditions are not being given priority."
Ms Davies has been living in Italy for 12 years and works at a luxury men's fashion brand.
She had been working from home for two weeks before Italy introduced further crackdowns this week, including closing all shops except for supermarkets and pharmacies.
There have been long lines at supermarkets, with customers only allowed to enter one at a time.
They must stand at least one metre apart while waiting, creating snake like queues across the city.
But Ms Davies said that the supermarkets had coped, joking that she should start a business sending toilet paper to Australia.
"You can still get toilet paper, but face masks and hand sanitiser are in short supply," she said.
Milan's tougher crackdown kicked into gear this week, before that Ms Davies was still catching up with friends after work.
Now the streets, parks and public places are deserted.
Ms Davies, who is from North Carlton in Melbourne and attended Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, said she was taking extra precautions to look after her health.
Italy has been one of the world's worst-hit countries by coronavirus, again breaking its daily death toll record early Saturday as the virus killed another 250 people in the past 24 hours.
The figures mean Italy has now lost 1266 people to coronavirus with a further 17,660 confirmed cases.
It comes as the World Health Organisation early Saturday Australian time declared Europe was now the epicentre of the coronavirus.
There has been a mad scramble for a vaccine, with cash beginning to flow to researchers.
In England, the death toll has risen to 11, with the first death confirmed in Scotland.
The global death toll has hit almost 5000 with more 132,000 across the globe.
The Queen has cancelled engagements next week and Prince Charles has called off a trip to Bosnia, Cyprus and Jordan.
In the UK, all Premier League football matches were called off until April 4 after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive to the coronavirus.
Two of the biggest UK insurance firms, Direct Line and Churchill, have halted the sale of travel insurance to new customers because of the coronavirus.
Two of the UK's biggest travel insurance firms are also shutting up shop over coronavirus.
"Due to the impact coronavirus is having across the world we have experienced a huge increase in demand for travel insurance," Direct Line Group said.
"Our priority is to protect and service our existing customers and therefore we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the sale of travel insurance to new customers so that we can focus on our existing customers."
Coronavirus has crippled the tourism industry with a number of European airlines announcing they were facing closure.
Norwegian Air temporarily laid off half its staff earlier this week after it was forced to cancel 4000 flights and there are fears British Airways could also go belly up.
Scotland's Edinburgh Airport also admitted job losses were on the way.
"As an airport we are facing an unprecedented situation, looking at the potential of three months of zero or close to zero passenger demand," a spokesman told BBC.
"We have spent the last few weeks looking at how we deal with the immediate and longer term effects and unfortunately that means taking some extremely tough decisions as the industry continues to react."
The virus has also hit at least 18 African countries, with Kenya, Guinea, Ethiopia and Sudan all confirming cases early on Saturday Australian time.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum was closed from early Saturday Australian time after the French Government banned all gatherings of more than 100 people.