The whole of Italy is now in quarantine and infected by the kind of panic I imagine an invaded people feels as it waits for the enemy to knock on the door.
I work from home and suppose I must be thankful at least for that. I have just heard the youngest of our six children, Giuseppe, who is four, ask Carla, his mother: ‘Mamma, do you know why it’s called coronavirus?’ ‘No, bello, I don’t, tell me’ she replied. ‘Because it’s the king of tutti i virus!’ he crowed which caused Carla to smother him with kisses. ‘Bravissimo! Amore mio! Bravissimo!’ The word ‘corona’, in case you didn’t know, is Italian for crown. Did he invent that himself I wonder? The whole episode brought a tear to my eye and a surge of impotent anger — anger that such a beautiful human gesture, a mother kissing and hugging her small child, could perhaps prove fatal.