Small Earthquake Hits Northern Italy, Prompting Emergency Calls

March 10, 2020 Updated: March 10, 2020
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A small earthquake hit northern Italy on Tuesday as the country is grappling with the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

A 2.9-magnitude earthquake struck about 10 miles northwest of Pisa near Tuscany, said the European Mediterranean Seismological Center.

According to state-backed ANSA, the quake had an epicenter in the Lucca province in Tuscany, a depth of five miles, and a magnitude of 2.6. There were no initial reports of damage.

Local residents in the area “clearly felt vibrations from the ground” and a “roar from the subsoil,” ANSA wrote. It prompted numerous calls to firefighters.

The tremor comes as Italy works to stave off the COVID-19 outbreak across the country. More than 9,000 people have been infected while at least 450 deaths have been confirmed as of Tuesday by Italian authorities.

Extraordinary measures were announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday evening to essentially quarantine the entire country. Travel between Italy’s regions and inside them has been banned unless it is necessary for work, health, or other serious reasons.

“There won’t be just a red zone,” Conte told reporters, adding that all of Italy will be “a protected area.”

Italians’ “habits must be changed now,” Conte said. “We must all give up something for the good of Italy” and “we must do it immediately and we will only succeed if we will all work together and adapt to these stricter standards.”