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Dolphins and swans appear in Venice canals a week after city locks down to prevent coronavirus spread

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 18/03/2020 Bonnie Christian
a bird swimming in water © Provided by Evening Standard

Residents of Venice have reported spotting dolphins, swans and fish in newly clear canal waters after the usually bustling city went quiet as coronavirus spread throughout Italy.

The country has become Europe’s COVID-19 epicentre , with infections jumping to nearly 28,000 on Tuesday and its 2,503 deaths accounting for a third of the global death toll. 


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But, amid a country-wide lockdown, Venetians have been posting photos and videos of animals reclaiming the city’s canals, usually muddied by passing boat traffic.

The Space Academy tweeted a video of a canal showing water so clear the bottom of the canal could be seen.

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It wrote: “After a week of lockdown... The canals in Venice are all clear and full of fishes. Kinda gives you the idea what will happen to Earth without Humans!”

One resident posted photos of dolphins enjoying the newly quiet waterways, writing: “Venice hasn't seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us.”

One person posted a photo of “precious” white swans enjoying a sunny day on the water.

Earlier this month, Italian Prime Minister Conte ordered a country-wide shutdown forbidding people to leave their homes except for work, health and emergency reasons.

The popular tourist destination has also seen a drop in air pollution since early January.

Footage from the European Space Agency shows a drop in nitrogen dioxide over the past two months, which it says coincides with the nationwide lockdown.

On Monday, the European Union approved a 30 day ban on all non-essential travel to Europe .

Click or tap here for the latest travel advice for people travelling back to the UK from affected areas, including whether to self-isolate. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.


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