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11 Mar, 2020 05:00

WATCH Italians line up in extended supermarket queues amid coronavirus lockdown (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

WATCH Italians line up in extended supermarket queues amid coronavirus lockdown (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

With Italy racked by a rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak, residents are piling up in elongated queues outside of storefronts, hoping to stock up on diminishing supplies while nationwide travel restrictions remain in place.

The illness claimed another 168 lives on Tuesday, Italy’s deadliest day yet, raising the death toll to 631, as the government takes dramatic steps to contain the outbreak that has sickened more than 10,000 people across the country. However, residents still need to eat, prompting many Italians to endure long, snaking lines running for hundreds of meters in order to purchase necessities before the shelves are laid bare.

In Italy’s second largest city of Milan – situated in the northern Lombardy region, so far the hardest-hit area – customers could be seen waiting in the extended queues, making sure to leave ample space between each person for fear of contracting the deadly virus.

Images captured in Florence, further to the south, looked much the same, with lines stretching far beyond some storefronts, many of which have imposed limits on how many customers are allowed inside at one time.

In some locations, lines have been marked out on the floor to show customers how far they should stand apart from one another in hopes of keeping them at a safe distance.

On Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended stringent travel restrictions already in place over the north to all of Italy, placing the entire country on lockdown and barring all public gatherings. Travelers nationwide will be required to obtain permits to move beyond their immediate area, under threat of a three month jail sentence or a fine.

Also on rt.com Coronavirus death toll in Italy jumps to 631 from 463 in a day, 10,000+ cases throughout the country

As the country braces for further spread of the outbreak, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that it would accelerate the export of urgently needed medical supplies to the country – including ventilators, protective suits and face masks – even as Beijing itself struggles to maintain its own stockpile. A cargo flight carrying the first batch of gear, some 26.4 tons of supplies, departed for Italy early on Wednesday, according to the Global Times.

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