The world has watched in horror as Covid-19 has unfolded so drastically in recent weeks. For those of you who, like me, have visited and loved the lockdown regions in Italy, there is something particularly hard-hitting about the images we are being confronted with.
At first I thought it must be because of the images of so many familiar iconic sites, cities, streets and of course the canals of Venice, left empty. The idea that those wonderful places, so full of life, are falling silent feels deeply wrong and unfair.
Perhaps the very thing that makes the hardest hit countries so vibrant and exciting in the first place, the love and the warmth of the people, is the very thing that can devastate a community during a pandemic: that hug, a kiss on the cheek, the embrace when meeting a friend or loved one works against us at the moment when we need that connection more than ever.
Perhaps this is what we British have been training for all our lives? An awkward nod and avoiding eye contact where possible as we go about our day feels a sensible course of action for the time being.
Here's hoping for an early spring and a return to that exotic escape as soon possible.
Italy has extended its emergency coronavirus measures, which include travel restrictions and a ban on public gatherings, to the entire country. On Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered people to stay home and seek permission for essential travel. He said the measures were designed to protect the most vulnerable. "There is no more time," he said in a TV address. Italy's coronavirus death toll jumped from 366 to 463 on Monday. It is the worst-hit country after China. The number of confirmed infection also increased by 24% from Sunday, official figures showed. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in all 20 Italian regions.