An earthquake has struck locked-down Italy as the deadly coronavirus grips the quarantined nation.

A 2.9 magnitude tremor has struck the coast near Pisa this afternoon at around 3.30pm local time.

The tremor – at a depth of 8km, and its epicentre near Massa, Tuscany – is unlikely to have caused any damage thanks to its small size.

But it comes as Italy remains “red zoned” with the entire nation on lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak.

Tourist attractions have been closed until next month at the earliest (Image: REUTERS)

Nearly 500 deaths and 10,000 cases have been recorded in the epicentre of the outbreak in Europe so far.

Last night the country’s prime minister said he was placing the country on lockdown in a desperate bid to get the virus under control.

For at least the next three weeks, people in the country have been told to move around only for reasons of work, for health needs or emergencies or else stay at home.

Anyone travelling will have to fill in a document declaring their reasons and carry it with them.

Large gatherings and outdoor events, including sports, have been banned, while bars and restaurants will have to close from 6pm.

Schools and universities will remain closed until April 3.

All these measures took effect from this morning, extending those effected from a population of 16 million in the north of the country, to more than 60 million nationwide.

“There won’t be just a red zone,” Mr Conte told reporters referring to a lockdown of areas in the north which had initially been hit the worst, “there will be Italy” as a protected area.

People have been told to stay at home, and show documentation if they need to be out (Image: Getty Images)

After the unprecedented move was announced last night, shoppers in Rome rushed to late-night supermarkets to stock up on food and basic necessities, promoting the government to declare that supplies would be guaranteed and urging people not to panic buy.

Shops are allowed to remain open as long as customers maintain a minimum distance of a metre between them.

LEAVE A REPLY