Tara Diffley Verboven, a Killashee native living in L'estartit, Catalonia Spain since 2003, has called on the people of Longford to respect government guidelines, or risk a prolonged Covid-19 outbreak.
The mother of two, who ended up in the fishing/holiday resort after studying Tourism in Sligo IT, lives in Spain with her husband Sonny and children Dylan (6) and Sofia May (10 months).
The family have been on lockdown in their home since Thursday, March 12, with her children now homeschooled for the forseeable future.
Tara explained: “We have been inside since Thursday 12th March, it's very surreal, like something from a movie.
“Every morning when we wake up, we hear of more and more people who have contracted the virus and sadly of more and more deaths.
“You can only go outside to the shop for essentials only or to the pharmacy or doctor. In these premises, there are strict guidelines about distance and hygiene etc.
“The police and in some areas the army are now patrolling the streets and question everyone they meet outside. Oh, you can also go walk your dog, but only briefly.”
The Longforidan told the Leader that local police are handing out fines for anyone not abiding by the rules.
She stated: “Police are handing out fines to anyone who disregards the rules, €600 and up.
“From today, we must have a form from the town hall stating where we are going/coming from etc if the police stop you outside.”
Tara says hospitals in the region are on the brink of collapse, with protective equipment badly needed.
She said: “The hospitals are on the brink of collapse, they desperately need masks and gowns, and nurses and doctors are working around the clock.
“This morning, Monday, there were 5,925 confirmed covid-19 cases in the Catalonian region, and 245 people in Catalonia have died due to the illness.
“That's just in this region. In the whole of Spain there are 33,089 and 2,207 dead! The airports and borders are now shut, only allowing essential flights.”
After hearing of social distancing rules not being adhered to in her home county of Longford, Tara has issued a plea to the public to 'act now', stay home and stop the spread of the virus.
She said: “Act now, stay home, stay in. A few weeks or maybe a month and you could save lives.
“Stop the spread. Social distancing is not working, it's clear to see.
“The longer people disregard the rules, the longer this will go on,” Tara concluded.