Roman by origin and Dutch by adoption. Gian Paolo Simonetta is a physiotherapist Italian specialized in sports rehabilitation, post-surgical and myofascial therapy, who for several years has settled in Amsterdam, Holland.
“I moved to Holland for personal rather than professional choice. Despite having a well-established studio in Rome, which allowed me to earn even higher than current ones, I was not happy. So, after a couple of trips to Amsterdam, the city with which I had love at first sight, I decided to move permanently and start all over again ”.
Like many people who emigrated from Italy abroad for work reasons, he is experiencing the Coronavirus pandemic emergency as an Italian transplanted into a different reality from the one where he was born, raised and worked. “The situation in Amsterdam is quite surreal, the new Coronavirus problem was approached in a completely different way than in Italy. Here, as in England, the path of (partial) herd immunity has been chosen, which has created a sort of split in the population: the pro-government and those who have proclaimed themselves in quarantine ”.
The Netherlands announced at the end of February the first case of infection from Covi-19 recorded in Tilburg, a city in the south of the country. To date, 2460 people have tested positive for the virus and 76 victims.
“According to government indications - he adds - if the symptoms from Covid19 are only mild, the advice is to stay at home without undergoing a swab. The test is done only if you are in very serious conditions. For a couple of days, the Government has implemented more rigid measures: schools suspended their teaching activities on March 15, also following numerous protests from parents and most of the businesses have closed. My impression is that we are proceeding slowly and "copying" the actions taken by Italy after having criticized it! As an Italian, I feel I am proud of how my country is handling the Covid-19 emergency. I also take this opportunity to virtually embrace all the doctors and nurses who are struggling to save lives ”.
How has your work changed?
A lot has changed. The Government has allowed us physiotherapists to be able to continue to practice the profession obviously adopting all the preventive measures to avoid the risk of contagion. I have equipped myself with all the safety devices to be able to continue to guarantee the service. Despite the fear I was ready to go on, but following the numerous cancellations by patients, with the other colleagues we decided to stop the service.
From a family and social point of view?
In the family we are not yet experiencing a full quarantine due to the work commitments of my company. Social relationships are practically 0. The good thing about this whole thing is having more time to devote to my daughter.
Like all expats, for him too the thought is for the loved ones in Italy who are experiencing the peak of the epidemic. "We talk every day to keep us updated on the evolution of this dramatic situation and above all we reassure each other because I'm sure everything will be fine"! concludes Gian Paolo Simonetta.
Gian Paolo Simonetta is part of the Network Italian Healthcare World, the first platform dedicated to Italian doctors and health professionals residing abroad. His profile can be consulted in our very useful WebApp.