As Italy seeks to restart tourism industry worst-hit areas fear second wave

Travel in a time of coronavirus is certainly a changed experience.

No more busy airports and certainly no airport snacks or shopping. Pretty much everything is closed.

And after weeks of lockdown and warnings about social distancing it is also quite a jarring experience, because for all the signs to stay two metres apart, the flow of the terminals seems to make that more of a theory than a practice.

Those airlines who are flying are clearly trying to get as much distance between their passengers as possible, and so it was onboard a 747 jumbo jet that we took the flight from London to Rome and then onto Milan.

That last leg is similar to London to Manchester, imagine doing that on a jumbo, a plane more used to crossing the Atlantic.

Social distancing measures in Italy as the country opens up to international flights. Credit: Emma Murphy

Arriving in Italy, the Covid-19 warnings were everywhere in every language, unsurprising given the dreadful toll the virus has taken on this country.

On arrival there is a temperature check and an awful lot of paper work. For most there is also two weeks quarantine.

But on the streets it feels like that life we used to lead. After weeks of very severe lockdown Italians are getting out and about again wearing mandatory masks.

On arrival there is a temperature check and an awful lot of paper work. Credit: Emma Murphy

Some of the restaurants are open, though the regulations are strict - fewer tables and at the very least a temperature check and hand spray.

Interestingly, in Rome they are much stricter than in the ravaged north which has seen the heaviest death toll.

My colleague, who is from there, speaks of separation at tables and police checks. In Bergamo, despite the high number of deaths, things seem much more relaxed.

Museums and galleries have reopened across Italy. Credit: AP

It’s clear there is relief that life is finding a path back towards normality after the dreadfulness of the past months, but there is also fear and frustration.

Most people you meet in Bergamo have lost someone to Covid-19; some have lost many. There is an anger about why this place was so badly hit and an anxiety for the future.

The real anxiety is a fear that what they have already endured was just the first wave of this pandemic.

This traumatised population cannot face anymore, but are braced for it.