On Tuesday, the Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) launched a proposal to fly their flags at half-staff in all the cities and towns of Italy.

Mayor of Bari and President of ANCI Antonio Decaro said the proposal is a sign “of being supportive of one another, as we mayors know how to do” and also is a way to honor “the sacrifice and commitment of healthcare workers” as the country copes with a crippling coronavirus pandemic.

“We are trying to send a message of hope. This moment of silence of mayors, in which even the presidential palace and the Vatican participated, is an important moment for our country, showing unity from north to south. All the mayors have gathered together in a kind of ideal embrace, most importantly to be close to the places that are suffering the most, where the virus has been the most ferocious, to be close to the mourning for those who have died.” 

On Wednesday, the Vatican expressed solidarity with Italy and lowered the flags throughout Vatican City to half staff. Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said in a statement:

“Today, in solidarity with Italy, the Holy See will fly flags at half-mast in mourning, to express its closeness to the victims of the pandemic in Italy and around the world, to their families and to those who generously fight to bring it to an end.”

As of March 31st, Italy has over 105,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus along with over 12,000 deaths.

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