Escaping Italy ahead of countrywide coronavirus shutdown: Part 2

ABC News' James Longman recounted an emotional cab ride on his way to the airport, where he came across long lines of desperate travelers trying to get out. He's now self-quarantining in London.
7:40 | 03/11/20

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Transcript for Escaping Italy ahead of countrywide coronavirus shutdown: Part 2
Reporter: The viral attack in Italy feels like an act of war. The government's response equally dramatic. Police checkpoints and mandatory curfews, a virtual quarantine for 60 million people. More than 10,000 infected, the vast majority seniors and the death toll surging. Over 460 lives claimed by covid-19. Today that number rising to more than 630, the deadliest toll outside China. Iconic tourist attractions this plaza at the coliseum is normally packed with visitors. Now take a look at it, virtually deserted. Reporter: On the heels of the lockdown announcement, these chilling images emerge, patients being placed face down to help get lungs oxygen near the red zone. Some hospitals building makeshift tents to grapple with the growing number of cases. The world health organization praising Italy's government for taking such drastic measures. We're encouraged that Italy is taking aggressive measures to contain its epidemic. Reporter: I was in Italy reporting on the story when the lockdown was announced. It took us by surprised. We were concerned we would get stuck too. Speaking to a taxi driver, and he's wearing a mask. He's really worried what's happening. He has suffered from pneumonia before. Reporter: As I was at the airport I was met by long lines of desperate travelers. There are long lines everywhere, and it looks very clear that a lot of people are trying to get out of Italy. After two hours I touched down at home in London. The last flight out of Rome. They've canceled flights until next month. Very sad situation. We've been given forms, telling us that we have to self-isolate. But so far there doesn't seem to be any kind of health test upon arrival, no scanners. Just arrived this morning. As I left this morning, a travel youtuber was just settling in. Thanks for tuning in and see what it's like in Rome. Reporter: He goes all over the world and makes videos about his travels. Was flying from Indonesia to Italy to meet his mother who just arrived in sicily. She's been looking forward to this trip for right about a year. We planned this trip. We did the research, believe me. There's local train. We're not going to go to north Italy. We won't go to Milan. We going to sicily, way far in the south. We had no idea we would be in a lockdown. Reporter: Now Rupp and his mother are in limbo. Survive, we will survive. We have been looking at flights to get out. Hough, other people on our tour, their flights have been canceling one by one. They're trying to rebook, rebook. Reporter: Ironically, he was also in Wuhan China in November, a month before the viral outbreak would lockdown the city. I went to Wuhan in November, just about a month after that is when the Corona covid-19 outbreak was announced. Seems like I beat the virus. Now I'm in the middle of it. Reporter: I'm in an airbnb I've got my books, the uk government has not mandated that I have to do it, I'm not forced to do it, but it does make the most sense given that I was in Italy. As for Jason and his mother, they're also spending time in an airbnb. When they are actually able to get on a plane and back home still anyone's guess. We're still going to enjoy our time in Italy the best we can. Incredible story, James. Thank you. And now we're going to go over to our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton to answer some of your questions, but first, we just saw in James' story people documenting their lives under self-quarantine. How effective are these two-week periods of isolation in spreading, in stopping the spread of the virus? In general, when you talk about these social distancing measures, they C be effective as we say flattening the curve. So that means slowing the spread, protecting the other vulnerable populations, like those people who may have contact with, let's say, the elderly. And it buys us time. So how much of a help this will be is tbd. It's to be determined, because time is a factor. Now I want to get to some of our viewer's questions. If I'm in a situation where I can't wash my hands right away, is hand sanitizer the best option until I get to a bathroom? Some claim sanitizer doesn't do anything to. That's incorrect. It is true if you can get to a sink, soap and water is preferable. People are overthinking T hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, dry your hands well, if that's not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Keep your hands clean. It will be interesting to see what happens to the rate of other infections like influenza, because people are so focussed on hand hygiene. The next question, what kind of precaution at home, what kind of vitamins should I be taking? And should I be stock up on food and water? First part of the question with vitamins, there's no proof that vitamins protect us from any virus. But things we can do, get enough sleep, getting regular exercise, that has been associated with a lower risk of getting the common cold virus for example. You know, and eating well actually can help keep our immune system where it should be. The second question, what should you be stock up on, the same things you would be getting if there were a major blizzard. Hoarding not necessary. Enough for two weeks. That's what the CDC is saying. Are we safe to eat in restaurants or pick up food from Starbucks? What risk are we at? We can't live our lives in a plastic bubble. You have to evaluate certain behaviors and say if I alter this, what kind of risk is involved and what kind of benefit. This nice person wants to know about the incubation period. She says we see a lot about what happens when you have the coronavirus but nothing about what happens when they're not contagious. With a cold or flu, it's 24 hours after the fever is gone. We don't know the transmission dynamics. One of those things is how long someone can be infectious after testing positive. We just had a small study this morning that suggested the incubation is just over five days with 97% of people infected showing symptoms by two weeks and certainly by 11 days. Again, we're still learning that, but five days is on average. Not everyone will show symptoms. There's so much false information out there, it's great to get reliable answers. Do stay with us for continuing coverage on the coronavirus. Tweet us questions with #ask"nightline." We'll be right back. Est?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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