In pictures: Italy in coronavirus lockdown

10 March 2020, 11:01

People take photos at the almost deserted Trevi fountain in Rome
People take photos at the almost deserted Trevi fountain in Rome. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Italy has put its entire population of 60 million people under severe restrictions due to coronavirus.

People have been told to keep their distance from others, food is being rationed, bars and restaurants are closing early, and the country’s famous tourist sites stand empty.

Some 9,172 people have been infected with Covid-19 in Italy, and 463 people have died.

People wait in a queue outside a bank in Milan
People wait in a queue outside a bank in Milan. Picture: PA

There are growing fears that the numbers will only worsen as Brits desperately tried to make their way home out of the quarantine.

People wearing face masks at Roma Termini railway station
People wearing face masks at Roma Termini railway station. Picture: PA

Milan's shopping galleries, Rome's Spanish Steps and St Peter's Square in the Vatican were all practically deserted today.

Huge queues formed at supermarkets as people raced to stock up as the country entered lockdown.

Empty streets in front of the Pantheon in Rome
Empty streets in front of the Pantheon in Rome. Picture: PA

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte announced a government decree that required all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live.

Italian soldiers with face masks are on duty at Milan Central Railway Station
Italian soldiers with face masks are on duty at Milan Central Railway Station. Picture: PA

"There won't be just a red zone," he told reporters, referring to a lockdown of areas in northern Italy instituted over the weekend.

People walk in an almost empty St. Mark's Square in Venice
People walk in an almost empty St. Mark's Square in Venice. Picture: PA

"There will be Italy" as a protected area, he said.

Streets in Milan were devoid of the normal hustle and bustle today. Checkpoints have been set up at the city's main train station to screen travellers.

Deserted areas of the movida in Milan
Deserted areas of the movida in Milan. Picture: PA

People at Milan Central Station were required to sign a police form, self-certifying they were travelling for "proven work needs", situations of necessity, health reasons or to return to their homes.

A deserted shopping concourse in Rome
A deserted shopping concourse in Rome. Picture: PA

"Until a few days ago, the thinking was the alarm would pass in some weeks, we just need to follow the rules. Now we need to explain to citizens that the situation is very, very serious, our hospitals are at the point of collapse," said the mayor of the city of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori.

Two women wear face masks on a bus in Rome
Two women wear face masks on a bus in Rome. Picture: PA

People circulating inside the city and also in the provinces were subjected to spot checks to ensure they had valid reasons for being out. Violators risked up to three months jail or fines.

Seria A game between Sassuolo and Brescia was played behind closed doors
Seria A game between Sassuolo and Brescia was played behind closed doors. Picture: PA

The message from authorities was an increasingly blunt "Stay at home".

Italy has overtaken South Korea as the country with the most cases outside China.

Passengers are checked as they leave Milan central station
Passengers are checked as they leave Milan central station. Picture: PA

The extraordinary measures, which also apply to the city of Venice, will be in place until April 3.

Dr Massimo Galli, head of infectious disease at Sacco Hospital in Milan, said: “We're only at the beginning,"

The Italian government has reassured citizens that supermarkets will remain open and stocked after panic buying erupted after the broadened anti-virus measures were announced nationwide, sparking overnight runs on 24-hour markets.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's office issued a clarifying statement after he signed the new decree late on Monday, stressing that movement outside homes for "normal necessities" such as grocery shopping will be allowed, as well as for work or health reasons.

The statement said rushing to supermarkets was not necessary and the measures were only announced to stop large public gatherings where the disease may spread.