‘We are under lockdown’ – Monmouth County native describes experience in Italy during coronavirus outbreak

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A Monmouth County native living attending graduate school in Italy says that she has now found herself living in lockdown during an outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 in the country.

Raquel Guarino, 28, says that she recently set off to pursue her master’s degree at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. She says she was excited to start a new chapter of her life and enjoy all of what Italy had to offer. Including the shops and sights

“One of the reasons I came to Italy was to learn about the country and the culture,” she says. “I’m definitely getting a lesson right now.”

Guarino says that before she knew it, the country was under lockdown and she was ordered to stay inside to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting the virus.

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“We are under lockdown,” she says.

With more than 15,000 presumptive coronavirus cases confirmed, President Donald Trump issued a 30-day travel ban from the United State to 26 European countries, including Italy. Guarino says that it is a nightmare since she was considering returning to New Jersey once the outbreak started.

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“It was 2 a.m. and I’m talking on the phone with my parents and we were trying to figure out how we could get a flight back to New Jersey that same day,” she says.

Guarino says that the quarantine has impacted her and her classmates in more ways than one.

“You can’t go to someone’s house to have dinner or hang out with a friend even,” she says.

But she says that she is trying to find the silver lining in the whole situation.

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“Hanging out on social media, sharing memes, sharing what we ate for dinner, taking pictures and hopefully we’ll make it through A-OK,” Guarino says.

Italy’s national lockdown is expected to last until April 3.

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