This is hard to write.
Just a few short days ago I published an article explaining why coronavirus was not stopping me from travelling to Italy next month.
It turns out that a lot can happen in a few days.
Since Saturday, the number of confirmed cases of the virus has leapt to more than 10,000 from 3000, and the deaths have reached 631. For Italy's ageing population, this is a mortality rate of 6.2 per cent.
And of course, since Saturday, Italy's government has imposed a dramatic lockdown of the entire country, effectively quarantining 60 million people.
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At the time I wrote my article, a handful of small towns in the Lombardy region were under lockdown, but the rest of the country was running business as usual. Within a day, the entire region and other provinces in Northern Italy were also closed off.
I still wasn't worried. After all, I wasn't planning to visit those places, and to my understanding the majority of the cases were contained within Lombardy.
I was confident, and still am, that I could take extra care with hygiene and breeze through without catching the virus – after all, the proportion of Italy's population that has actually caught it is only about 0.02 per cent.
What's more, China's new cases were starting to drop after only a few weeks, perhaps the same would happen in Italy in the time between my article and my departure.
But now I've reached the point where I have to eat my words, swallow my pride, and say I'm not going anymore. Not just to Italy, but to Europe at all.
After news of the total lockdown was announced, I wracked my brains trying to figure out a way to salvage the trip. Would the lockdown be lifted by the time I got there? Could we go somewhere else nearby? How would we be able to predict which countries would be the next hotspots?
In the back of my mind were the numerous comments and emails I'd already seen and received. You're selfish, irresponsible, stupid, you value money over your own life. One particularly enthusiastic correspondent even told me I was "an embarrassment to New Zealand".
I still maintain people should not have to put their lives on hold over this virus. People should still be able to travel, as long as they follow the correct precautions and are prepared to isolate themselves as necessary.
There are a hundred other things we could die from, a thousand other things that put us at risk of serious harm or hospitalisation.
But the judgment still weighed on me. On top of that was the fact the situation in Europe is so uncertain at the moment, with cases leaping up so rapidly there is no way to know where would still be safe to visit in three weeks.
I had the option to change my flights for free – though in my personal circumstances the date of the trip was non-negotiable – or to cancel and apply for a partial refund. With any luck I'll get back a little under three quarters of the plane fare.
Thanks to Airbnb's cancellation policies, I've managed to get almost all of my accommodation costs back too. There are other things I haven't been able to get my money back on, and I expect others will be in the same boat as me.
Money aside, I'm pretty gutted. I won't lie, I did shed a few tears last night after making the decision. I'd just spent the last few weeks researching all the cities I planned to visit, making little maps for myself, yammering on to my friends and family about the different things I was going to see and do and eat. It's hard to have that all pulled out from under me after spending the last few years trying to convince my husband a trip to Europe was worth the cost.
For anyone else struggling with this decision, I've written a handy list of pros and cons of cancelling, which you can adapt to your own situation.
Pro: Less risk of catching coronavirus.
Con: Could catch coronavirus at home and will likely have to listen to Ironic by Alanis Morissette on repeat for two weeks.
Pro: Save money you would have spent on your travels.
Con: Lose non-refundable deposits and fares.
Pro: No gaining loads of (insert local delicacy-related) weight. Pasta weight for me. My diet remains on track.
Con: Drowning your sorrows in boring New Zealand junk food instead, gain weight that way. I plan on entering an Easter chocolate-induced coma to distract myself.
Pro: No self isolation.
Con: You have to go to work.
Pro: Not having to survive a long-haul flight.
Con: Not getting to stretch out across a whole row because the plane is so underbooked.
Pro: No uncertainty and stress about travel plans.
I'm very aware that these are First World problems. I'm sure I'll have some emails soon telling me I should be ashamed for feeling sorry for myself when people are dying.
For anyone else going through the same thing as me right now, I do hope you can still enjoy your travel. I'll just live vicariously through you. Send me your Instagram handles so I can sit alone at night with tears streaming down my chocolate-smudged face, double-tapping your amazing pictures.