ROME, Metropolitan City of Rome — Italy has closed all stores nationwide except pharmacies and grocery stores in response to the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
The tighter restrictions on daily life are the government’s latest effort to respond to the fast-moving crisis that took Italy’s number of cases from three to 12,462 in less than three weeks.
Some hospitals in hard-hit Lombardy are at a saturation point given limited intensive care beds.
The country is in virtual lockdown, leaving many of the busiest tourist sites in the country nearly deserted.
The Associated Press has released a series of then-and-now photos to show what kind of activity these places enjoyed before the pandemic and how they look today.
Trevi Fountain: June 2017 and March 11, 2020
Spanish Steps: November 2019 and March 10, 2020
Pantheon: June 2019 and March 11, 2020
Roman forum: April 2015 and March 11, 2020
Colosseum: April 2018 and March 11, 2020
Sant'Angelo Bridge: September 2019 and March 11, 2020
Premier Giuseppe Conte thanked the public for cooperating with the already unprecedented travel and social restrictions that took effect Tuesday.
But he said Wednesday night on Facebook Live that Italy must "go another step'' by closing all shops and businesses except for food stores, pharmacies and other shops selling ''essential'' items.