Chef Grini says he has no idea when he'd be able to return to T&T, the place he has called home for the past 15 years.

As Italy is brought to its knees following the spread of the coronavirus, one of its nationals is warning this country to take all precautions to avoid the spread of the deadly disease.

Italian chef Christian Grini, who currently is in Italy, says drastic measures are being taken as the death toll rises.

He is advising citizens here at home not to panic, but instead, to safeguard themselves.

There have been unprecedented restrictions in Italy following the COVID-19 outbreak, which has claimed over 800 lives there, thus far.

During a Skype interview on CNC3’s The Morning Brew, Christian Grini, who has spent the past 15 years working at restaurants in T&T, said the pandemic is slowly crippling the nation.

Italy’s tourism industry has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are worried,” he told us. “Businesses are closing down as there is nobody around.  At the end of the day, people have to pay rent and their bills, and salaries to their staff. So, it’s definitely not easy.”

As Grini described how the country was rattled by the rapid spread of the disease, he said waves of infected people were pushing health facilities to a breaking point.

Hospital workers in Italy

“We do not have space in the hospitals now,” he revealed. “They are trying to re-create spaces in all the hotels where they can re-create ICU centres. They are packed and it’s not only because of the coronavirus. People still get heart attacks and have cancer. People still have accidents and need to go to emergency rooms for treatment.”

He added: “They’ve given special hotline numbers for people to call if they suspect they’ve been infected with COVID-19, and when they call that number, they are told were to go or who else to call. People are not allowed to go to the emergency rooms at hospitals if they suspect COVID-19 infections, because of all the other critical medical needs that must be addressed there.”

Italy’s Prime Minister, Guiseppe Conte, has ordered the closure of all shops, bars and restaurants, as well as schools, for public safety.

Italy is the country worst hit by COVID-19, outside of China.  Italy’s government has now ordered all shops, bars and restaurants to close. All schools were closed last week until April.

Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte has described the current situation as the nation’s darkest hour.

Chef Grini said while containment efforts have been ramped up, Trinidad and Tobago should be paying close attention to the international scenario, to see what lessons can be learnt when the virus reaches our shores.

“I hope nothing like this happens to us back home in T&T, but it is important that everyone work together at this time.  Here, both the government and the opposition have joined forces and are working together to deal with this crisis. It is wonderful to see.”

He added: “I know we are party animals in Trinidad and Tobago so please, just be careful, everyone. I don’t want to panic anyone, but if T&T takes the right decisions, we will be safe.”