Covid-19: Romans head out as authorities urge people to stay at home.

Health authorities in the Lazio region have voiced their concerns over a lack of social distancing after photographs showed Rome’s central shopping street, Via del Corso, crowded with people on the afternoon of Sunday 8 November.

Similar scenes of people packed closely together – while wearing masks – were photographed in other areas of Rome as well as the coast at Ostia, prompting Lazio’s regional health commissioner to comment on the “disconcerting” images.

“I understand the desire to return to normal, but it has not been understood that we are in a situation of war against the pandemic, and such behaviour only helps the virus to strike more,” said Alessio D’Amato.

“Let’s not make the same mistake made in the summer with the free-for-all for which we are paying the consequences today,” said D’Amato, who repeated calls for people to stay at home and only go out if necessary, noting that the Lazio hospital network is already under stress and “cannot hold on indefinitely.”

The crowds may prompt police to close off certain streets in the capital, according to reports in local media, after the city recently shut down some of the areas most associated with nightlife, on weekend nights, in response to the covid-19 crisis.