AN East Lancashire teacher has given a stark account of life under lockdown in the Northern Italian coronavirus hotspot.

Karli Drinkwater, 35, has said she and her fiance Pierangelo are "effectively under house arrest" in their home in Altedo, near Bologna.

But she is urging Britons to take the same action to limit the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Former Clitheroe Royal Grammar School pupil Miss Drinkwater, whose mother Cheryl Sandford lives in Langho, moved to Italy six months ago.

An ex-journalist with the BBC and Sky, she has been blogging and broadcasting on Radio York and US TV networks about the harsh reality of life at the heart of the European coronavirus crisis.

Mrs Sandford, 66 who works for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Obviously her sister Dawn and I are worried about her but she is doing everything she should to stay safe.

“She is blogging and broadcasting to keep people’s spirits up and warn people here about the reality of this virus in a place which is a few weeks ahead of us. We are so proud of her.”

In her latest broadcast on US TV network CNN, Miss Drinkwater said: “It’s really surreal to be here at the moment.

“It’s not normal life by any stretch. We are effectively under house arrest.

“We’re like prisoners now. We have to be inside all of the time.

“The only time we can leave the house is to buy food from the supermarket or go to the pharmacy because those are essential needs but that’s not done freely either.

“You have to take ID, you have to take a self-declaration. So for example if you want to buy the weekly shop you have to write ‘I am going to buy food’.

“And it can’t be used as an excuse either. You’re not allowed to go and buy just a pint of milk as an excuse to get some fresh air. You are checked that you are actually buying food to last you for a few days.”

But Miss Drinkwater has no doubts the measures are necessary and should be followed in the UK.

She said: “Unfortunately it does seem appropriate because we’re yet to see the effects of all these containment measures.

“I would say do what we are doing now. We didn’t now it could get this bad this fast but you know.

“You can see what’s happening in Italy. You can see how quickly the cases are rising, how quickly the death toll is climbing.

“We are at breaking point here. Just stop and contain now,” she added.