Ischia and the corona virus

Ischia and the corona virus

Here in Ischia, the island is keeping safe, but we’re also battling with our own positive cases of COVID-19 and I wanted to give you an update on Ischia and the corona virus and what’s going on here.

Since everything is closed and we’re all staying at home, I feel like I’m in a vacuum. I read the local newspapers online, read the comments and follow the local Facebook groups, but what I most come across is anxiety, fear and speculation over the identity of the positive cases. I miss hearing the voices around me at the bar, in the shops and running into neighbours on the street. In this way, I felt like I was a part of the community and understood what was going on across the island. Now I can only rely on the official reports.

Ischia and the corona virus
Lucky to have some outdoor space during the lockdown

At the time of writing this, the local newspaper has said that there are 28 confirmed positive cases on the island, but the health office that covers our region (ASL Napoli Nord 2) has reported 24 confirmed cases with 8 patients in the local hospital, Ospedale a Rizzoli. I suspect the discrepancy is based on the slowness of getting the results back from testing, it usually takes a week, but the health office has reported that 160 people on the island are under active health watch. I’m not sure if that means they have taken tests and the results have not come back yet, or if these are people that the confirmed cases have been in contact with and are under surveillance as a precautionary measure, or maybe it’s both. Ischia lost its first member of the community to the virus on Monday 31 March, a kind-hearted gentleman named Claudio from the town of Barano

The hospital situation on the island has been an issue long before the start of the virus. It has suffered from years of funding cuts and department closures, as the regional health office has repeatedly stated that the islanders are expected to go to the mainland for hospital services. This makes the islanders feel incredibly vulnerable for any emergency services and they have protested for years to try to get more funding for the hospital on an island that has 60,000 full-time residents and soars up to 250,000 during the high season. It is not a long-term or economically feasible option to have a water ambulance or helicopter transport patients to the mainland and when there is bad weather, especially in the winter, the island can become quickly isolated.

Ischia and the corona virus

The islanders have long felt this neglect from the mainland regional office and when the corona virus cases were first reported in the north, the worry and anxiety quickly set in. However, there is some good news to report. The regional health office in response to Ischia and the corona virus has sent over extra doctors and nurses, increased the hospital beds for COVID-19 patients from 6 – 12, sent over an extra ambulance, and has extended to the island a home health service for positive patients under strict quarantine. A fundraiser for the hospital to purchase much needed equipment and protective gear, which started last week, has already raised for 100,000 euros.

So perhaps we’re feeling a bit more protected in this very difficult time and volunteers, municipalities and charity organisations are working hard to help those in economic need with providing and delivering food. The island’s first and major priority is to safeguard everyone’s health, but once that danger has passed, we’ll be faced with the economic tragedy of an almost non-existent tourist season this year. It’s still too soon to tell what will happen and what this will look like and what kind of economic relief the government will provide for the island.

Aperitivo to help us get through our days in lock down

For me, in the times of Ischia and the corona virus, I could easily get overwhelmed by the what-ifs, so I’ve been trying hard to remain in the present and be grateful for the things that I have in my life such as my health and a garden so I can sit outside. It’s something I learned to do when I was dealing with a major health scare and recovering from surgery and it taught me how to deal with this now. The lockdown has been extended to the 13th of April (but I suspect it will go on until at least the end of April). My days are filled with talking to the cats, reading, writing, and making an after-lunch coffee and drinking it with Marituccio in the garden. Coffee and sunshine help me. And seeing people hang Italian flags from their windows and balconies. I have never seen that happen outside of the World Cup matches.  

I hope you all keep yourselves and others safe and healthy during this strange and difficult time.

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  1. Paolo Di Meglio wrote:

    Thank you for the update. My father lives in Ischia. Stay safe and God Bless us all

    Posted 4.2.20 Reply
    • Giovanna wrote:

      Thank you Paolo, same to you. Sending hugs from Ischia.

      Posted 4.2.20 Reply
  2. Peter Jenkinson wrote:

    Hi , i was so glad to read that the virus is not so bad on Ischia as in other parts of Italy
    We have been coming to Ischia for the last three years and love it
    Obviously this year will not be possible, but hopefully not too long , just hope the economic problems are not too bad
    Thank you so much for the update, i hope you keep the updates coming
    Keep safe and positive

    Peter Jenkinson

    Posted 5.6.20 Reply
    • Giovanna wrote:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Peter. Ischia is hanging in there and I hope you get to come and visit, soon. xx Giovanna

      Posted 5.6.20 Reply
  3. Valerie Kirk wrote:

    2002 – 2017 my husband daughter and I holidayed each July on Ischia just love this beautiful Island we now too old to make the long journey but will always think of all the people we met and still have contact with, with much affection. Stay safe look for each other.

    Posted 5.12.20 Reply
    • Giovanna wrote:

      Hi Valerie, that’s wonderful that you had a chance to visit Ischia many times with your family. It’s a special place. I’m sending you lots of sunshine from Ischia and hope you stay safe and healthy too xx

      Posted 5.27.20 Reply
  4. Ghislaine Dumoulin wrote:

    Thank you for the update.We visit Ischia at least once a year and we are very concerned for the safety of our friends !We try to communicate as often as possible with them.Stay safe and Healthy

    Posted 6.16.20 Reply
    • Giovanna wrote:

      Thank you Ghislaine! Please stay safe, too. So far we’re okay here in Ischia. There are no more positive Covid cases on the island and the Campania region has its cases under control. xx

      Posted 6.28.20 Reply
  5. Teresa wrote:

    I visited Ischia in 2019 and fell in love with the place. I had planned to come last year but it was not possible.
    I enjoy reading your blog and hope that you are safe. Greetings from Sydney ?

    Posted 2.9.21 Reply
    • Giovanna wrote:

      Hi Teresa, greetings from Ischia! I hope you get to make it back here soon. x Giovanna

      Posted 2.26.21 Reply
  6. Nicola van der Veldt wrote:

    I hope this finds you well, safe and positive.
    We’re regular visitors to Ischia but sadly, due to Covid-19, we have not been able to visit since October 2019. We had trips cancelled 3 times during 2020 and are due to visit in June of this year. (2021)
    I’ve read this morning that Italy is going into another lockdown and am wondering whether this includes Ischia. Are you able to update me a little on how things are on the island, please.
    Thanking you in anticipation and sending you very good wishes.
    Nicola, Norwich UK.

    Posted 3.13.21 Reply
    • Giovanna wrote:

      Hi Nicola,
      Yes, Ischia is included in the lockdown. The Campania region has been turned into a red zone and on Monday all of the regions in Italy (aside from Sardegna) will be either red or orange. These restrictions will be in place until after the Easter holidays. Cases are going up and the vaccine rollout has been really slow due to vaccine shortages across Europe. Hopefully, the vaccinations will increase by the end of this month. I’ve written a new blog post about life in Ischia lately that gives a little bit more details. Unfortunately at the moment, no one really knows when hotels and restaurants will start to open. For now, no one is allowed to travel outside of the region where they live. x Giovanna

      Posted 3.13.21 Reply


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