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Italians sing, clap, vow to remain united on virus

Stuck at home due to the new coronavirus pandemic, Italians took to their windows and balconies on Saturday to lift spirits - armed with pots, pans and singing voices.

The words of the popular Italian song "Azzurro", by Italian folk singer Adriano Celentano, resonated across the country and in the streets left deserted by one of the worst crises the country has ever faced in its modern history.

While some simply banged kitchen utensils, others painted posters reading "Everything will be fine", and hung them up on their windows, terraces and balconies.

This came as new coronavirus cases jumped by 2,795 over 24 hours and virus-related deaths by 175, bringing the total number of infections to 21,157 and death toll to 1,441.

Italy is the epicentre of the virus outbreak in Europe.

The Italian government has ordered an unprecedented lockdown, directing businesses to close and restricting people's movement.

Mayors of many Italian cities, including Rome and Milan, decided on Saturday to close public playgrounds and parks, too.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.