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New satellite images released by the European Space Agency show Venice waterways virtually empty due to the coronavirus lockdown, compared to the high amounts of boat traffic normally seen around Easter.
Days after shutting down the northern Lombardy region, Italian President Giuseppe Conte extended lockdown measures to the rest of the country on March 9, drastically reducing all aspects of public life.
In the city famous for its canals instead of roads, that meant Venice boat operations, including the “vaporetti,” or water buses, as well as cruise ships, were drastically reduced.
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Two photos captured by the ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission compared boat traffic in Venice on April 19, 2019 and April 13, 2020.
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This year, the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Channel appeared nearly empty. The usual boat traffic between Venice and the island of Murano seemed nonexistent. In 2019, two large cruise ships sat in the U-shaped Port of Venice in the western part of the city. The port appeared vacant Monday, the day after Easter.
The capital of the northern Veneto region, Venice was built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It is now home to more than 260, 000 people. The streets and canals of Venice remained relatively empty over Easter weekend as most residents remained indoors, with mainly just police officers out patrolling the city, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
Europe has seen a drastic reduction in air pollution amid lockdown measures designed to curb the spread of infection. Last month, images collected by Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite showed a significant drop in nitrogen dioxide concentrations in major European cities, including Paris, Madrid and Rome.
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Italy has seen the most coronavirus fatalities compared to any other nation, recording at least 21,645 deaths by Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country that quickly became the worst stricken in the world after the novel virus broke out of China now ranks third — behind the United States and Spain — in the global number of infections, with at least 165,155 confirmed cases.