"I hope they deport us." Kate Langbroek on her 'aggressive' clash with police officers in Italy.

On Good Friday, Kate Langbroek and her husband Pete Lewis ventured out of their home in Bologna, Italy, and headed to the supermarket to buy Easter eggs.

Speaking to FOX FM from Northern Italy, where her family has been in lockdown since the country closed down to all but essential services on March 9, Langbroek said the simple outing ended up in an “aggressive” run in with Italian police, who said she and Lewis were not allowed to be outside together.

“Italians have that knack. They can look at us and know we are not Italian,” she explained to radio hosts Dave Hughes and Ed Kavalee.

Kate Langbroek on Italy’s lockdown. Post continues below video.

Video via Channel 10

“I was so annoyed. I hate the one-size-fits-all rule. I said, ‘I’ve got four children at home, that’s a lot of food, that’s a lot of carrying on my own’. They were a bit surprised by how aggressive I was.

“They respect that attitude because it’s the attitude of an Italian woman. They’re quite forthright.

“That’s my new strategy. I’m going to be aggressive.”

Langbroek said earlier this month, her husband had been given a notice by officials while outside riding his bicycle.

“They held him up for 40 minutes, they basically interrogated him, and gave him a piece of paper, which he signed, even though it was in Italian, and he couldn’t understand it, which said he’s being sued by the police,” Langbroek said.

“I laughed and said, ‘Good, I hope they deport us. It’s the only way we can get out of here’.

“We’re not in isolation like you guys are in isolation. We’re not allowed to exercise in pairs, we’re not allowed to go outside. We are in solitary confinement, basically, except with six of us.

“The only reason you’re allowed to go out is to get groceries.”


Speaking in Channel Ten documentary Coronavirus Australia: Our Story last week, Langbroek explained Australians were where Italians were a few weeks ago.

She recalled how at first, being put into lockdown was a relief, but as time went on it became harder to stay motivated.

“When lockdown comes, and this will sound strange, but it’s almost kind of a relief because it’s a circuit break and the sudden stopping of everything is almost a form of respite,” she explained.

Videos of Italians singing and playing music in solidarity from their balconies went viral around the world in the early weeks of lockdown.

But now, Langbroek said, “It is a grind”.

“The days run together and inexplicably it becomes harder and harder to get out of bed. You try to maintain a routine.

“And the interesting thing about it is how exhausting doing nothing can be.”


Kate and her husband Peter Allen Lewis have been homeschooling their children Lewis, Sunday, Artie and Jan for six weeks and are also trying to work from home.

But besides that, there really wasn’t many ways to spend their time anymore.

“We lie in bed like little gumnut babies, just clutching each other’s hands, until we fall asleep ready to start it all again the next day,” Langbroek said.

Langbroek and Lewis relocated their family from Melbourne to Italy in early 2019 for what was meant to be a ‘family gap year’, but have extended their stay for another 12 months.

Italy has been one of the nations hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

In February, 11 municipalities in northern Italy, identified as the locations of Italy’s main ‘clusters’, were placed under quarantine.

On March 8, the quarantine was expanded to all of Lombardy – where Milan is located – and 14 other northern provinces, and a day later, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the entire country would be locked down, placing more than 60 million people in quarantine.

Last week, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the full lockdown will last until at least May 3.

As of April 15, local time (Thursday morning AEST), Italy has had 165,155 cases and 21,645 deaths.

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