cheery thoughts in Italy
© REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
The prospect of a coronavirus-induced lockdown is a truly daunting one but, through the magic of the internet, we have seen some truly inspirational moments, including beautiful, communal singalongs from across an Italy in crisis.

With more than 1,000 killed and 12,400 infected, Italy has been the country hardest hit by Covid-19 outside China. The country has been on lockdown since March 10, with police patrolling the streets to ensure the rate of infection slows as people self-isolate.

To stave off boredom and cabin fever, Italians across the country have taken to their balconies and begun singing to and with each other, in heartwarming scenes.

The touching scenes have been winning praise across the world with many sharing them as an example for all to follow. Irish Sinn Féin politician Mary Lou McDonald was among those paying tribute. "Solidarietà con l'Italia. We will come through this together," she said.

Meanwhile, doctors, nurses and other medical staff are collapsing from exhaustion at the end of their punishing shifts, during which bathroom and hydration breaks are few and far between. Emergency rooms are now facing questions of triage, rather than best treatment options, in circumstances unseen in Western Europe since the end of the Second World War.

Nurses have shared photos of their faces bruised from wearing protective masks for such extended periods of time, all while trying to stem the tide of infection in the hardest-hit European country.

"I am physically tired because the protective devices hurt, the lab coat makes me sweat and once I'm dressed I can no longer go to the bathroom or drink for six hours," wrote nurse Alessia Bonari.

"I am psychologically tired, like all my colleagues who have been in the same situation for weeks, but this won't stop us doing our job."

Those who are allowed venture out to pick up supplies, as pharmacies, groceries and other essential services remain open in a limited capacity, are facing a new form of more disciplined queuing, hitherto unseen in the 21st century.