Derry school teacher sends chilling warning to home city

Derry woman, Fionnuala Crabtree is a primary school teacher in Bergamo, Italy.
Seamus McKinney

A Derry school teacher working in the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Italy has sent a shocking warning to her home country to prepare for the onslaught of the virus.

Fionnuala Crabtree (28) from Culmore in Derry is a primary school teacher in Bergamo in northern Italy. Of a similar size to Derry, Bergamo has suffered particularly badly from the illness. More than 400 people have died in the last week and the entire city is in lockdown.

Ms Crabtree said she was sending her warning to Ireland as she did not want to have to record the impact of the virus in her home city in the same way as she has had to in Bergamo.

Posting on Facebook, the she said: “Hello Derry. I send you this video from lockdown in Bergamo. Bergamo is a beautiful city in the north of Italy that has always reminded me of home. It’s a gorgeous walled city; it has an amazing community spirit and almost the same population size as that of Derry and Strabane district.

Derry woman, Fionnuala Crabtree is a primary school teacher in Bergamo, Italy.

“When the schools closed here just a few weeks ago there were no recorded cases of Covid-19 in Bergamo. A few weeks later there are over 4,000 cases and in the past week alone there have been 400 deaths.”

Ms Crabtree said hospitals in the city are unable to cope with the huge number of cases and the Italian army has been deployed on to the streets.

“The crematoriums are full. We sit in our apartments and we listen to the continuous sound of sirens and the church bells that mark the mourning of so many loved ones in our city.

“I don’t want to ever have to correlate my experience here for the virus for my beautiful city of Derry. Please do you bit to protect your community.”

Ms Crabtree said it was vital that people stayed home as much as possible and kept their children home. She urged Irish people to observe social distancing and wash their hands regularly and to self-isolate if they had any symptoms at all. People should also limit their trips to avail of essential services and avoid social occasions.

“A little sacrifice now will go a long way in protecting the town that we all love so well,” the Derry woman said.

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