‘Slow and heartless’ - Expat slams UK’s lockdown response after Italy isolation

Great Yarmouth-born Margaret Perroud, with her husband Franco. PHOTO: Courtesy of Margaret Perroud.

Great Yarmouth-born Margaret Perroud, with her husband Franco. PHOTO: Courtesy of Margaret Perroud. - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk-born expat has slammed the UK’s “slow and heartless” response to the coronavirus crisis, after spending weeks in lockdown in Italy.

Margaret Perroud believes more lives could have been saved if the UK learned from the mistakes of other countries battling the virus.

The 73-year-old, who was born in Great Yarmouth, moved to Florence in 1966, but has been in lockdown for weeks in a bid to tackle the escalating death toll.

She said: “The situation is really bad. No one respected the lockdown at the beginning, especially young boys and girls, and now it has become a terrible thing.

“We are trying to cut down the spread by staying in. We used to go out for walks, especially people with dogs, but now we can’t do that. We are controlled now.

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“The UK was not quick enough. Mr Johnson made a ridiculous speech and it seemed like he didn’t have a heart. There was no love for the people.

“We think we didn’t do enough at the beginning, but the UK did even less. There was China and Italy to learn from. You knew what was going to happen and more lives could have been saved.”

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Mrs Perroud had been set to return to the UK for her brother’s birthday on March 20, but found herself unable to travel due to the restrictions.

Italy introduced strict measures to tackle the virus, which has affected more than 80,000 people, including banning solo physical activity outside in some regions, while “non-essential” businesses have been ordered to close.

Residents are expected to produce forms justifying the reason for travelling, with those breaching the lockdown facing fines or prison sentences.

Mrs Perroud said: “There is hardly anyone about outside.

“All of the shops have been closed for weeks, and schools for nearly a month,

“Now there are police officers going around to find out where you are going. We have an area that we have to keep in to go shopping, but you need to do a self-permit or you can be fined.

“We are all well and have no symptoms, but we have been in the house for two weeks now because my daughter and son don’t want us to go out.

“Italy is normally a wonderful country, especially here in beautiful Florence. It is such a dreadful thing to see people dying like this.”

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