Former Silver Ferns shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti has opened up on the "terrifying" situation she and her family face as they remain trapped in Italy's coronavirus lockdown.
Tuivaiti, rugby star husband Jimmy and their six-month-old son Bash are based in the northern Italian city of Parma, where there are more than 2,000 cases of the deadly virus.
Italy, alone, has accounted for almost a third of all deaths from the virus worldwide.
Tuivaiti, who played for the Central Pulse and Northern Mystics while living in New Zealand, said some people were still unaware of the severity of the situation.
"I've seen a lot of stuff online about scaring people and the media blowing things up and it would be an awesome time to let everybody know at home that it actually is scary," she told Newstalk ZB. "It's really happening and I am horrified that I'm here to be honest.
"We're literally just inside the house because it is so scary here and we really don't want to be going anywhere else anyway."
Tuivaiti said they would have preferred to have returned to New Zealand but the rapid pace of the country's lockdown left them no time to prepare.
"Being a parent, with this thing going around ... to be so far away and to be in such a dangerous place at the moment is pretty scary as a mum," she said.
"Everyone is kind of shocked we haven't come home but we've actually left it a little bit too late and everything is shut and we couldn't possibly get into New Zealand if we wanted to.
"Keeping us and our son inside the house is the safest place at the moment. Not only for us but for our families too. We don't want to come home and have to quarantine. We could possibly be carrying and we wouldn't know it, where we are at the moment is the safest."
She admitted staying indoors had been challenging.
"We've been in each other's pockets. My husband's learnt what it's like to be a stay-at-home mum so that's an awesome learning for him but we are literally inside the house," she said. "We leave the house once a week if we're lucky.
"As boring as it might be, we literally find comfort in walking into different rooms and hanging out there for a bit of the day, just to get some new scenery. It's tough, it's boring, but the alternative is not something we're willing to risk."
Jimmy Tuivaiti is part of Italy's squad for the Six Nations, of which the remaining matches have all been postponed. The Italian union has kept him well informed of the virus and the potential financial impact on players.
Although acknowledging it's been an added stress on their minds, Tuivaiti said they remained focused on making it through.
"It's a rough time for rugby at the moment - it's not essential, it's entertainment in reality, so it's a bit of a rough time with contracts and money and what's happening with competition," she said.
"We're just sympathising with how hard Italy has it at the moment and trying to make sure we all stay healthy and safe until it all blows over.
"I'm really proud of how Italy are handling this all, to be honest, it's been really scary and they're severely under-equipped for something like this, as is the rest of the world, and we're just getting through it."