It’s been a rough month for Chiasso, a town of 25,000 deep in northern Italy just a half hour from Milan, which hosts the International Criminal Court. Visitors have been warned of an influenza outbreak in the area in recent weeks, but the warnings have done little to keep an estimated 65 million shoppers out of the town’s shops.

As Reuters’ Sylvia Westall reports, Quarantine of Chiasso, Italy in lock down as flu outbreak spreads: — The Independent () February 19, 2016

And while the worst of the flu season may be finally behind them, many customers are still staying away, taking advantage of a new “hotels-in-the-barns” ban, which even Duino Properties, which runs the Cicchetti shopping mall, said was inconvenient.

“I just thought it was selfish. We’re sacrificed, that’s all it is. We’re just left,” Marco Traspontine, one of the discounter’s security guards, told Reuters.

Chiasso’s deputy mayor recently warned residents that the windy village’s shops could be offline for up to a month, but with the exception of Duino, the town’s shopping district is running relatively smoothly, with crowds buying groceries for lunch. Others were less prepared for the demand.

Visitors arrive at Autodromo Quadri, in the southern Italian city of Parma, on March 13, 2015. (ONA/AGN/SENATIME - LE JACQUES/AFP/Getty Images)

“There is always the risk of fresh illness,” said Costantino Bambuca, who bought a machine gun case for a friend’s dead mother to carry in a bag and had to carry the case himself, according to Reuters.

But for every Prada-shopping arriviste, there was also a Duino retail employee, local lawyer and market seller, worried about their livelihoods. “(The tourists) are bringing money in, but are getting a haven for ill persons,” the mayor of the town said in a televised speech.

The government approved a precautionary pull-out of the international aid group Doctors Without Borders this week as part of the quarantine.

Read the full story at Reuters.


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