“We just hit a wall with our usual lifestyle…everything changed.”
Today’s postcard, recorded on 17 July, is from Sabine Eichbauer. The episode is longer to accommodate the fact that she lives in both Italy and Germany.
Sabine handles multiple businesses including wine growing at her vineyard, Podere Salicutti in Tuscany, managing restaurant Tantris in Munich with her husband, and she continues to practise architecture. She is mother to two young girls.
When we spoke, Sabine had trouble pinning down where home was. The panic of lockdown has prompted a reassessment of what home and happiness means to her. She shares some of that reflection in this postcard.
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Italy began issuing distress calls to the EU about the threat of Coronavirus at the end of January 2020 when two Chinese tourists were taken to hospital in Rome. By mid-March hospitals across Lombardy were being overwhelmed. Quarantine was imposed in the northern regions however, cases had spread across the country. It was at this time that the first postcard with Enrico in neighbouring Veneto region was recorded.
As of 24 July there have been 245,338 cases of COVID-19 and 35,092 deaths. As the country has begun to open up to greater movement and tourism there has been a correlating small uptick in infections. In Tuscany, where Sabine is, peppercorn rents on farms are being offered to try and revive the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile in Germany, cases of Coronavirus started appearing a month later, primarily in people returning from winter holidays. The country enacted its health and economic pandemic plan, and promptly closed its borders.
As of 24 July there have been 205,142 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 9,197 deaths. More recently there have been breakouts in food production factories and these are dealt with at a local level. There are concerns about the economic decimation that a second wave might wreak on the country.
Across Europe, there was a piecemeal approach to the pandemic with individual countries closing borders and critical equipment being kept within nation states. The Guardian analysis of the dysfunctional behaviour of members states in response to Italy is worth reading and listening to.