Coronavirus: Streets of Italy deserted as government implements mass lockdown

Italy faced an unprecedented lockdown on Tuesday that left streets in the capital Rome and other cities deserted after the government extended a clampdown across the entire country in a bid to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus.

The measures, announced late on Monday by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, widen steps already taken in the rich northern region of Lombardy and parts of neighboring provinces, restricting movement and banning public gatherings.

“The future of Italy is in our hands. Let us all do our part, by giving up something for our collective good,” Conte said in a tweet, encouraging people to take personal responsibility.

The latest steps came after data showed the coronavirus outbreak continuing to spread, with 9,172 positive cases recorded as of Monday and 463 deaths, heavily concentrated in the prosperous northern regions of Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto.

In Rome, cars circulated freely under a clear blue sky in the normally traffic-clogged center and commuters could find seats in the usually packed underground system during rush hour.

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