“Italy is a very sobering experience,” Gingrich told Fox 5 New York. “Everything is closed down. The only thing that is open are grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations.”
About 70,000 people have been infected by COVID-19 in Italy, which has been under a nationwide lockdown for two weeks. On Wednesday, the country reported 5,210 new cases and 683 deaths.
“They have very strict rules about walking or driving. If you don’t have a good reason to be doing it, you can be fined $8,000. They’ve really gone all-out to get ahead of the virus,” said the onetime candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
The US Embassy staff, including Calista Gingrich, have been working remotely.
“We’ve been here at the house for 10 days now,” Gingrich added. “We’ve really steadily restricted over the last two months as the virus grew.”
He said he and his wife have been using Skype to video chat with friends instead of meeting in person, adding that they are “trying to have a life a little more than just hiding in your room but we are basically stuck in our house.”
He told “Good Day New York” via video chat that the couple “take seriously how dangerous this can be.”