Catholic priests kept their distance from Pope Francis over fears of the coronavirus today when the 3-foot Italian security rule reached the Vatican.
Francis kept an audience in his private library with his clerical translators sitting one meter away – the distance that Italy requires in public spaces to stop the spread of the virus.
Piazza San Pietro today remained empty with the usual apparition of the pontiff canceled on Wednesday and the worshipers forced to watch his catechism live.
Other Italian landmarks such as Piazza San Marco in Venice and the Milanese shopping streets have also remained empty today with tourists who are away and some countries cut off transport links.
He warned that the unprecedented national blockade in Italy could be further strengthened, with the request to completely close public transport in the Lombardy region.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte today refused to rule out even tougher quarantine measures after the death toll rose to 631 on the first day of the blockade yesterday, with over 10,000 cases now confirmed.
Conte also promised today that Italy would increase spending to help the Italian economy resist the crisis, saying that 25 billion euros (£ 22 billion) had been set aside.
Keeping your distance: Pope Francis keeps his weekly audience live streaming in the Vatican – with his clerical translators keeping the recommended 3-foot distance while Italian quarantine measures reach the Holy See
An empty road in Milan today on the second day of the unprecedented national blockade to face the coronavirus
A health worker sprays a disinfectant on an otherwise deserted San Marco square in the overcrowded city of Venice
A woman looks towards St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica behind it today after the usually popular tourist sites have been closed due to the coronavirus epidemic
A sparsely populated subway station in Milan today, with a man wearing a mask going down an escalator
The outdoor seating area of a cafe in Milan is now deserted, with northern Italy the area most affected by the virus epidemic
Milan’s famous shopping galleries were abandoned after the blockade, which started in Lombardy earlier than elsewhere
The widow is trapped with her husband’s body for two days after the quarantine
A widow was trapped in her home for two days with her husband’s corpse after the couple was quarantined for her diagnosis of coronavirus in Italy.
The woman, from Borghetto Santo Spirito, in north-west Italy, was reportedly seen crying for help from her balcony after her husband died around 2 am on Monday.
The man’s body, which tested positive for coronavirus, was left inside the apartment until it could be removed 48 hours after Wednesday’s death.
His widow was unable to leave her home because of “quarantine restrictions”, as the protocol stipulates that no one is allowed to approach the body, Mayor Giancarlo Canepa told CNN.
“Yes, it is true that it is still there with the body and we will not be able to remove it until Wednesday morning,” he added on Tuesday. “Unfortunately we have a security protocol which we must follow.”
Canepa added that the man refused to be taken to the hospital after testing positive for the COVID-19 test “otherwise it wouldn’t have happened.”
A neighbor told IVG.IT that the widow had been seen crying for help from her balcony after her husband died.
“Right now the most important thing is to think of this lady, alone with her husband’s body,” they said.
‘Nobody can come close to help or comfort her. Hopefully this will work out quickly. Our thoughts are with her and what she is experiencing. ‘
Last week the government said it would only take £ 6.6 billion, but the crisis has intensified dramatically since then and the blockade nationwide has frozen the country’s economy.
The precious Italian tourism sector has also been affected, with many countries and airlines that are blocking flights to Italy to stop the spread of the virus.
Landmarks including the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa have been closed while Milan’s famous commercial galleries are almost deserted.
Stefano Ruggiero, 48, owner of a perfumery near the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, said that the business has been going on since 1911 but “this is the quietest road that has ever been”.
In the meantime, restaurants and bars have been ordered to close at 18:00 and can only open if they can maintain the required safety distance of 3 feet.
The tourism sector employs around one million people ahead of Easter, who now fear for their jobs.
Despite the economic impact, the head of the Lombardy region that includes Milan today urged the government to close transport and non-essential activities in an even narrower bloc.
Attilio Fontana said that he and 12 regional mayors have decided that further action is needed to stop the spiral spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“If the contagion continues to spread at this speed, the system will not be able to resist for much longer,” Fontana told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“We are really reaching the maximum limits,” he added on Sky TG24 television. “It is clear that the situation is approaching a dangerous moment.”
“Suspension of public transport should be considered because it is definitely a means by which the virus spreads,” he said.
The Rome government was due to review the request on Wednesday.
Conte said he will consider requests to tighten the blockade, but has issued a cautionary note with a warning that fighting infections should not be at the expense of civil liberties.
A map showing the latest virus cases worldwide, with Italy now recording the largest number of cases outside mainland China
A porch near the Doge’s Palace in Venice is now deserted, except for a healthcare professional who sprays disinfectant
A jogger makes his way through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II today, the centerpiece of Milan’s famous shopping district
A deserted square of San Marco in Venice, with the basilica on the right. Venice is facing an unusual shortage of tourists for the second time in months after the city was flooded last year
A woman wearing a mask is now walking through a largely empty Porta Nuova business district in Milan amid requests for the closure of non-essential businesses due to the epidemic
An employee of the municipal company Veritas sprays disinfectant in one of the alleys that usually raises today in Venice
A police officer checks the cars entering Milan last night with drastic new travel restrictions to stop the spread of the virus
The Trevi Fountain in Rome, in an area often full of tourists, has been abandoned since the beginning of the quarantine
Two people pushed the carts out of a supermarket in Corigliano-Rossano last night with some customers who refueled
In Rome, Pope Francis held his weekly general public in his private library today, with the public banished from St. Peter’s Square.
Francis, 83, sent special prayers for the prisoners, the sick, and the hospital staff who take care of them, taking his weekly catechism lesson via livestream rather than in person.
He was surrounded by a handful of priest translators who took turns commenting in a variety of languages, making sure to sit 3 feet apart.
The police have blocked access to St. Peter’s Basilica to anyone other than people trying to pray, as the Vatican is in line with Italy’s quarantine measures.
The pontiff himself is believed to have tested negative for the virus last week after having had a cold during an Ash Wednesday service.
The pope canceled a number of events because of his illness, triggering alarm after being portrayed while hugging and kissing worshipers in St. Peter’s Basilica. .
Francis generally enjoyed good health, although he removed part of a lung as a young man.
One person in Vatican City was infected, another who attended a Vatican conference proved positive and five people were placed in precautionary quarantine in the fortified city-state.
Staff are sitting behind an easyJet counter, a woman wearing a mask, at Milan Linate airport today – with many countries imposing restrictions on travel to and from Italy
Pigeons are among the only signs of life in the usually popular Piazza del Duomo in Milan, with the cathedral behind it closed
A nun wearing a protective mask today crosses Bernini’s Colonnade which surrounds the closed Piazza San Pietro
The Italian soccer team Atalanta played their Champions League game against Valencia in front of an empty stadium last night
Two people face a largely deserted Venice – a city that most commonly suffers from the opposite problem of overcrowding
Outside the Vatican walls, the central streets of Rome were deserted this morning and the buses that are usually full of commuters were empty.
Some supermarket shoppers started observing the 3-foot distance by forming spaced tails as they stock up for a long quarantine. Handshakes are also frowned upon.
“For the love and sense of responsibility towards Rome and all citizens, with enormous and profound disappointment, we decided to close to help the whole community,” said a sign in a restaurant in Rome.
“As soon as the emergency is over, we will organize a free carbonara day for doctors, nurses and health workers.”
Spain and Portugal suspended air traffic from Italy for two weeks while Austria ordered to stop flights and trains from its neighbor and Slovenia said it would impose checks on its border with the country.
British Airways canceled all of its Italian flights on Tuesday, while Air France and the low-cost airlines Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air said they wanted to cancel flights from Italian airports until early April.
Air Canada has taken even more drastic measures, suspending flights to Italy until at least May 1st.
Australia said Wednesday it would ban foreign nationals who had been to Italy for the past 14 days – measures already in place for arrivals from China and South Korea.
Passengers today wear protective masks at the main airport of Rome Fiumicino, with many travel restrictions in place
The Colosseum in Rome, which usually lifts tourists and people trying to sell them, has been abandoned
St. Peter’s Square was abandoned today with Pope Francis broadcasting his weekly audience through a Vatican live streaming
Pope Francis, believed to have tested negative for coronavirus last week, speaks today as seen on a Vatican screen
A municipal health worker wearing a protective suit and face masks sprays disinfectant on a barrier today in Venice
A man travels on a largely empty vaporetto in Venice, which is located in one of the severely affected northern regions of Italy
An empty shopping arcade was visited in Milan last night, with tourists staying away because of the coronavirus crisis
The masked police in Rome’s main train station were checking the travel reasons for the passengers and making sure everyone kept the recommended distance from each other.
But the departure board showed no cancellation. He said that when the station staff realized he wasn’t Italian, he was told, “Are you a foreigner? Go go! ‘ and greeted him with his hand.
The rail service to Venice via Florence was only sparsely occupied but still operated, without checks for passengers disembarking in Florence.
The Thello company canceled its night services between Paris and Venice, as well as the day trains between Milan and Marseille, until the beginning of April.
The French national railway company SNCF said Tuesday that it was “awaiting advice” on how to proceed with regard to services to Italy.
Since the end of February, the French staff of the SNCF cross-border trains have taken off before the Italian border and been replaced by Italian colleagues.
Some rail services between Italy and Austria were still in operation on Tuesday, but this is expected to change, according to a spokesman for the Austrian rail operator OeBB.
A spokesman for the German Deutsche Bahn said that the only service that connected it to Italy, between Munich and Venice, has been suspended.
Health workers at a roadblock in Brescia, northern Italy, where the epidemic has become one of the worst outside mainland China
The beds are placed in a checkpoint in Brescia, with a rapid increase in the number of people in intensive care
As the crisis escalates, doctors have described how hospitals have been “overwhelmed” by the number of patients.
Doctors in Italy have been forced to make life or death decisions about who should receive intensive care, with cases of viruses accumulating across the country.
A doctor in northern Italy told a friend in the UK that hospitals were operating on “200% capacity” with operating rooms that quickly converted to intensive care units.
Non-coronavirus cases have been sidelined with some doctors who have received a ‘booklet’ and said they carry out specialist tasks for which they are not qualified, while some patients over the age of 65 have not even been evaluated, the doctor.
In addition, the medical staff themselves are becoming “sick and emotionally overwhelmed” and left “in tears” because it cannot prevent people from dying, they said.
In the meantime, the nurses have been left bruised by the constant use of the face mask and have collapsed on their benches from exhaustion while fighting the crisis.
A nurse, Alessia Bonari, published a photo of her injured face after wearing protective clothing for hours during a shift in Milan.
A doctor wearing a protective suit and a face mask works in a triage center in Brescia, in the Lombardy region which was the most affected by the crisis
An X-ray image appears on a screen in a medical center in Brescia with many doctors and nurses working long hours due to the health crisis
Doctors treat a patient in a hospital in Schiavonia, northern Italy, who was most affected by the coronavirus epidemic in the country
Health workers wearing protective suits, masks and gloves are pictured at work in the Amedeo di Savoia hospital in Turin
Describing life in the hospital, the nurse revealed how she couldn’t drink or go to the toilet for six hours after putting on her protective clothing.
“I fear because the mask may not adhere well to my face or I may have accidentally touched myself with dirty gloves,” he said.
‘I am physically tired because the protective devices are defective, the lab coat makes me sweat and once dressed I can no longer go to the bathroom or drink for six hours.
‘I am psychologically tired, as are all my colleagues who have been in the same condition for weeks.
The nurse also appealed to the Italians to obey the quarantine rules, saying: “I will continue to take care and take care of my patients, because I am proud and in love with my job.”
‘What I ask anyone who is reading this post is not to frustrate the effort we are making, to be selfless, to stay at home and therefore protect those who are most fragile.
‘We young people are not immune to coronavirus, we too can get sick or, worse still, we can get sick.
‘I can’t afford the luxury of going home in quarantine, I have to go to work and do my part. Do yours, I ask you please.
Another nurse, Elena Pagliarini, was photographed slumped on her desk while still wearing the mask in a Cremona hospital where she worked all day.
The nurse had fallen asleep while still wearing the mask and surgical gown with the Italian hospitals “overwhelmed” by the crisis.