Italians thank doctors with midday balcony applause amid coronavirus lockdown
Italians stuck in their homes due to the coronavirus outbreak on Saturday offered applause to doctors and nurses working around the clock in a crisis that has pushed the country’s health system to the limit and turned daily life on its head.
A round of applause at noon dedicated to health workers working tirelessly in hospitals filled the silence of empty streets in Rome.
Italian flags, sometimes made with improvised items like t-shirts, and banners with rainbows and the reading “all will be well” gave a splash of colors to a gloomy situation in which Italians are living.
“I think this message of trust and these colors could be helpful also for people walking in streets,” resident Giuseppe Caruso told Reuters during an interview “at safe distance”.
“Let’s hope, come on,” he added smiling.
Italy’s hardest-hit area remains the prosperous northern region of Lombardy around the financial capital Milan and the government has imposed an unprecedented lockdown, closing schools and most shops, barring all but essential movement and telling people to remain in their homes.
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The virus has spread across the country and in Rome as well so the mayor, Virginia Raggi, decided to close city parks to avoid gatherings of people.
The government and leading public figures have also sought to reassure the public but the measures so far show no sign of slowing the number of deaths, which rose by 25 percent in a day to 1,266, the head of the Civil Protection Agency said on Friday.
The total number of cases rose to 17,660 from 15,113 the day before, an increase of some 17 percent.