Strong quakes have struck Croatia’s capital Zagreb, damaging buildings downtown, including the city’s main historic cathedral. Officials urged people to leave home but keep social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zagreb was hit by a 5.3-Magnitude earthquake, which was followed by a 5.1-Mgnitude tremor 40 minutes later, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said. The epicenters of the two quakes were located at 8km (5 miles) and 7km (4.3 miles) from the city respectively.

Local media reported that residents heard sirens go off, and buildings were damaged in downtown Zagreb, including the iconic Zagreb Cathedral one of whose towers has partially collapsed.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the earthquakes at 5.4 and 4.6 Magnitude, saying they both struck near Kasina, a village on Zagreb’s northern outskirts.

Zagreb’s head of emergency services, Pavle Kalinic urged people to leave their homes. “Get out of the houses and help your older neighbors,” he said.

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