Then the police caught him.
Bodycam footage released by Italian police on Wednesday shows two officers on horseback waiting patiently onshore for the surfer on a beach near Rome. The masked officers blow a whistle and flag the surfer down, then wait for him to trudge ashore.
“Didn’t we tell you, ‘Stay at home’?” a police spokesperson wrote in a Twitter post with the video.
It’s unclear if the man faced any charges, but police used the video as a tool to encourage people to stay indoors and practise social distancing.
The country has been under strict lockdown measures for over two weeks as it tries to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The virus has overwhelmed Italy’s health-care system, killing more than 8,000 people and forcing doctors to make hard choices between who to treat and who to surrender to the potentially deadly disease.
Nevertheless, Italian leaders have been frustrated by individuals who continue to go outside for frivolous reasons beyond walking their pets or getting food.
A video compilation of angry Italian mayors from last week shows them railing against all sorts of offences, including people going outdoors to play ping pong or inviting hairdressers into their homes.
Vincenzo De Luca, the president of Campania, threatens to use force against people who break quarantine to attend parties.
“We will send the police over,” he says. “With flamethrowers.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
—With files from Reuters and The Associated Press