Italy has entered a strict three-day lockdown to undertake and stop a surge in Covid-19 cases over Easter.
All regions are now in the “red zone” – the highest tier of restrictions – as the country battles the third wave, with about 20,000 new cases a day.
Non-essential movement is banned, but people are allowed to possess an Easter meal in their homes with two others.
Churches also are open, but worshippers are being told to attend services within their regions.
For the second year, Pope Francis will deliver his Easter message to an empty St Peter’s Square.
Following the holiday weekend, different regions will then remain in either “orange zone” or “red zone” restrictions until the end of the month.
Italy’s restrictions come as countries across Europe try to control a surge in cases of the virus while struggling with a delayed vaccine rollout.
More than 110,328 people in total have died of the coronavirus in Italy, and there are 3,629,000 confirmed infections.
The current situation in Italy
Just over a year after Italy became the primary western nation to be hit by a coronavirus epidemic, the country is now facing a 3rd wave and a second Easter holiday in lockdown.
On 1 April, Italy registered 23,634 new cases and 501 deaths.
Under the new lockdown measures, all non-essential shops are closed and cafes and restaurants are running a takeaway-only service.
Red zone restrictions normally mean all non-essential travel is banned, but over the Easter weekend an exception is being made to permit people to go to friends and relatives within their regions for a holiday meal.
The Italian government also announced it had been placing 70,000 extra cops on surveillance nationwide, to enforce the lockdown rules.
“This isn’t the time to lower our guard, and to abandoning that sense of responsibility shown thus far,” Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese told the newspaper Il Messaggero. “Because the progress recorded by the campaign for vaccines finally gives a glimpse of a special horizon which will allow us to gradually return to normal.”