Italy: Bus drivers learn self-defence to enforce COVID measures in Rome

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After being subject to aggressions and harassment for trying to implement COVID-19 related health measures, bus drivers at the public transportation company ATAC in Rome have started to enrol in martial arts courses in order to learn self-defence techniques.

One of the drivers was seen practising at a martial arts gym on Monday.

“A lot of drivers have been in trouble, what we can read in the newspapers is only the extreme situations,” said the Muay Thai trainer Marcel Zavagnin, who added that “dangerous situations occur every night in Rome and in many other parts of Italy.”

According to another trainer at the gym named Ennio Della Bianc, many drivers have joined “in order to be ready for the aggressions that are occurring every day,” as “the simple rule to wear the mask” has become “a problem for the drivers,” he explained.

A national lockdown began in Italy in early March and was eased in stages over the following months, but wearing face masks has remained mandatory on public transport and in shops, and social distancing is required in public spaces.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Thursday the extension of the state of emergency in the country until October 15th, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Tuesday, Italy has reported 248,229 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 35,166 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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