‘Around here, everyone has at least one victim to mourn’

World

‘Around here, everyone has at least one victim to mourn’

What’s in store for areas like Nembro, Italy, which had 1,000% more deaths in March than the whole of 2019?

Biagio Simonetta and Nick Squires

There is a toy shop in the centre of Nembro, Italy. Its shutters are down and there is a curtain hanging across the entrance. It won’t be opening again. Piera, the elderly woman who ran the shop, was killed by the coronavirus. The same fate befell her brother, who, with his sons, ran the hardware store next door.

It is just one of the many tragic stories that haunt Nembro, a little town on the outskirts of the northern city of Bergamo, which has the grim distinction of being the community hardest hit by the pandemic.

As Italy and much of Europe reopen for business, places such as Nembro are struggling to find a new normal. For businesses able to start again, the scars of what happened here are all too real...

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