Italians faced travel restrictions inside and outside the country Tuesday as nations near and far isolated Italy with flight bans and sweeping national measures went into effect in a bid to slow the coronavirus’ silent spread across the peninsula.
Police at Rome’s main train station checked commuters’ paperwork to ensure they had legitimate reasons to leave their residential neighbourhoods for work, health or other “necessary” reasons.
Carabinieri teams patrolled cafes to make sure owners were keeping customers 1-meter (yard) apart. Internationally, Italy’s status as the center of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak grew even after the government on Monday extended limits on movement to the whole country to slow infections.
The streets of Rome were as quiet Tuesday morning as during the country’s annual mid-August vacation shutdown. The SWG polling firm found Tuesday that Italians have finally realized the gravity of the virus, with nearly 55 per cent “very concerned” compared to 37 per cent a week ago.
The World Health Organization says people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while severe cases may last three to six weeks. In mainland China, where the outbreak emerged in December, almost three-fourths of its more than 80,000 patients have recovered. In Rome, communications freelancer Brett Ashley Jackson said she woke up stunned at the surreal turn of events. She had spent the night in the the capital to catch a Tuesday flight to New York for an uncle’s funeral, only to find it was abruptly canceled. She wondered how or if she could get home to her main residence in Lucca. “This is life until April 3rd,” she wrote to friends on Facebook. “Thanks for your concern and well-wishes. At least we’re in a beautiful prison.”