Playgrounds and parks shuttered in ItalyPTI | Rome | Updated: 14-03-2020 15:44 IST | Created: 14-03-2020 15:00 IST
Already cooped up most of the day in their homes under Italy's nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus, millions of Italians woke up on Saturday to find themselves deprived of one of the few simple pleasures left: a walk in the park. Mayors of many cities, including Rome and Milan, had decided by late Friday to close public playgrounds and parks. Health authorities have lamented that too many people were gathering together, whether it was to kick around a soccer ball or jog in groups.
Under a government decree issued earlier in the week, people had been allowed to walk, jog or bike in parks as long as they kept at least a distance of 1 meter between each other. But not everyone followed the rules. Among the parks whose gates were locked Saturday was Rome's sprawling Villa Pamphilj, a hilly expanse of umbrella pines and palm trees on the former grounds of a noble family.
Italy has the world's largest outbreak of the coronavirus after China.