Italy is facing the next surge in coronavirus cases, and the health authorities in the most-infected southern region suffer from tests shortage. With a lack of free COVID-19 tests available in the city of Naples, hundreds of residents are relying on the kindness of strangers.
In Naples, a high-risk area, there are large family groups living in very small places, so the risk of contagion is very high. But the residents of the city used to be proud of its tradition of caffe sospeso, where a customer pays twice for a coffee so that someone less fortunate can have one for free. The same approach is applicable to the swab tests.
For the local people, the most densely-populated area of Naples remains San Severo Fuori Le Mura church where the local community organisation offers residents a chance to get a rapid swab test and anonymously donate another.
Since they started two weeks ago, 1,000 people have been tested – 300 of them benefitting from the generosity of their fellow citizens.
“We Neapolitans have a big heart, in good and in bad times we share everything,” said local resident Giuseppina Puglise, after paying for an extra swab.
In Italy, the pre-booked test cost EUR18 and is carried out by a team of three doctors and two nurses within the airy confines of the 16th-century church. Such a test in a private local clinic can cost up to 45 euros, while a more accurate PCR test can cost 70 euros.
Unemployment in Naples always was a problem, especially under the toughest circumstances caused by the pandemic. Locals here feel a sense of solidarity as they face up to the inevitable tough times ahead. The Naples residents are helping others less fortunate meaning that is a civil and moral duty now.