The whole of Italy has been put on lockdown, as the government desperately tries to gain control of the coronavirus spread.
On Tuesday, thriving cities like Rome, Milan and Venice became ghost towns. Italians are facing a new reality of life with a curfew, travel restrictions and enforced space between people in public places, as the country reports more than 9,000 infections and more than 630 deaths.
CNN spoke to Beniamino Pagliaro, a journalist for national newspaper la Repubblica, who described the measures as unprecedented.
What are you seeing on the streets?
I’m in Rome, and the streets are basically empty. Rome is pretty famous for traffic jams, but there are none at the moment, there is very little traffic.
Like in many offices, most people (at Repubblica) are working from home. Many of our colleagues have children and schools are closed. People were told to work from home for health reasons first, but there just isn’t anywhere for children to go.
I live in the Trastevere, and there is a joke about the area, that one in two people are tourists. On a normal day, you can hear lots of people talking in English or Russian. These days, you don’t see tourists at all.
In the past week, I’ve been to Milan, and also there you can feel the city is half-closed. Restaurants are empty.
But don’t get me wrong, I think the government was right to choose these rules.
How are people responding to the measures?
They are listening. If you watch how less crowded the cities are, you can tell that something has changed,
Most people are trying to cancel travel. Many friends are canceling trips back to their families’ homes. Some friends of mine who live in Rome or Milan, they often go home to stay with family, but their parents are older, so they’re canceling because the risk is higher for older people.