From Venice to Rome: scenes of Italy's new lockdown

The country will also be placed under a nationwide lockdown over the Easter weekend for the second year running, the government said on Friday.

Italy, the first Western country hit hard by the pandemic, saw infections rise by 10% last week compared with the week before, and officials have warned that the situation is deteriorating as new, highly contagious variants gain ground.

In recent months the country has calibrated restrictions in its 20 regions according to a four-tier, color-coded system (white, yellow, orange and red) based on local infection levels which are revised every week.

Under an order approved on Friday by Health Minister Roberto Speranza seven regions have been shifted into the toughest red zones, including Lombardy around Milan, and Lazio around Rome.