Earthquake jolts Rome as the city emerges from coronavirus lockdown
The quake had a magnitude of 3.3 and struck at 5.03 am with an epicentre in Fonte Nuova, a small town around 10 miles outside the capital. It comes as the country is trying to get back to normal after the coronavirus outbreak.
The Italian capital Rome was hit by a mild earthquake on Monday morning as the country -- once the European epicentre of the novel coronavirus -- is emerging from a two-month lockdown.
The quake had a magnitude of 3.3 and struck at 5.03am with an epicentre in Fonte Nuova, a small town around 10 miles outside the capital.
There were no immediate reports of damage, emergency services said. Firefighters said they had received numerous inquiries from people after the tremor struck.
The epicentre was located around 11 km north-east of Rome, according to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the INGV. Residents reported hearing a loud roaring noise for around 30 seconds just before the shaking started, sending panicked people into the streets.
“People woke up, screams of fright were heard from our building,” a man identified only as Fayruj told Italian news site AGI.
Italy is one of Europe's most seismologically active countries, and contains the continent's only active volcanoes -- Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius.
Others said they had been thrown out of bed by the shaking, with panic spreading quickly through a city already on edge over coronavirus.
The deadly COVID-19 has killed more than 30,000 people in Italy and infected more than 219, 070.
“We were afraid,” another anonymous witness said. “It is already a complex moment, we only needed the earthquake, we were no longer able to go back to sleep.”
In 2016, a major earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 struck the Umbria region of central Italy, killing 299 people and injuring hundreds more.
In 2009 a similar quake hit the medieval town of L'Aquila, in Abruzzo province which neighbours Rome, causing widespread destruction. The 6.3 magnitude quake had killed 309 people and left more than 1,000 injured.