People living in the 'safest' places in the world
For over 30 years, Mauro Morandi was the only resident of the beautiful Mediterranean island and that helped keep him safe from Covid-19.
Morandi, a 81-year-old former Italian teacher, came to Budelli Island, off the island of Sardinia by accident when trying to sail from Italy to Polynesia in the central Pacific 31 years ago. He loved the clear water, the coral reef and the beautiful sunset here and decided to stay. Morandi takes over the island from the previous sitter.
Morandi was dubbed Robinson Crusoe of Italy. Even so, he still updated the news about the outside world. He knew that Italy had a national blockade when Covid-19 became serious in this country with more than 47,000 people infected, more than 4,000 people died and about 5,100 people recovered.
In a lonely world, Morandi finds himself in "the safest place on Earth".
"I'm fine, I'm not afraid," he said by phone. "I feel safe here. The island itself is a comprehensive protective barrier. There is no risk. Nobody comes here, I don't even see any boats passing by."
Morandi's main concern is the situation of family and friends. They live in Modena, northern Italy, one of the worst affected areas. "They are facing hard times," he said.
Morandi's life has not changed much since Covid-19 broke out in Italy, except that he had to wait longer to receive food from the mainland due to the strict restrictions of the government. This also means that the island's tourist visits have ended. Over the years, Morandi has been accustomed to welcoming these people, making friends with them and sometimes eating with them even though not many guests come to the island and they don't stay overnight.
Left alone, Morandi spends the day admiring the sea, breathing fresh air, collecting firewood, cooking and posting it on Instagram.
"I get bored, so I kill time by taking photos of beaches, wildlife and landscapes, editing photos and then sharing on Instagram and other social networks," he said. "I have a lot of followers."
Morandi said that if the blockade continues, visitors will not come to the island at least until July, but the prospect of a quieter summer does not worry him.
He has advice for people who are "isolated from the community" in Italy and elsewhere. He said that "there is no need to be sad at home for a few weeks", instead, this is an opportunity to reflect more on yourself and life.
Italy has tightened travel restrictions to curb the spread of nCoV, but dozens of Italians have been fined over the past few days for leaving home for non-emergency reasons, such as walking in the park or on the beach.
Morandi said the Mediterranean winter is tougher than many people think, leaving him to stay indoors for a few months. "I close the door every winter, I don't walk around the island for a few months, but instead I kill time on the porch. So why can't people stay in the house for two weeks? Really physical!".
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