A mother in Italy who has been "living in hell" because of the coronavirus pandemic has urged people across the UK to stay home.

Katherine Roycroft, who is originally from Colindale, says she has been "cofined to her home" in Venturina Terme and has been separated from her daughter and partner as a result.

Mrs Roycroft says that since people are not allowed to leave their towns in Italy, she has been doing "dinner dates" over Skype with her family.

She said: "I haven't seen my daughter in two weeks and my partner lives 150km away - we last saw each other almost a month ago and heaven only knows when we will next see each other.

"We have been doing dinner dates most evenings at half past eight so at least we can see each other and spend some time together."

Mrs Roycroft, who moved to Italy 32 years ago, is now urging for people to "sit and take notice" of the current situation in the country.

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An empty street in Italy (photo Katherine Roycroft)

She added: "We are living a living hell right now here and it'll be exactly the same in the UK within 10-12 days, if not worse if people don't start to listen.

"If everybody had respected the lockdown rules in, things wouldn't be this bad now.

"But not everybody did. Too many selfish, irresponsible people carried on regardless, putting themselves and others at risk."

Italy has been one of the hardest-hit nations in Europe with more than 69,000 infections and 6,800 deaths.

Mrs Roycroft said people in the country are "now trying to survive" and follow the advice and guidance in place.

She added: "It's just over a month since the first case of coronavirus was discovered in Italy. Just one month.

"And our lives have changed unimaginably.

"Please look and learn from what we're going through, words cannot describe it.

"Copy what Italy did right, and learn from the mistakes that we made too."