Coronavirus: Kiwi basketballer reveals Italian 'ghost town' under pandemic lockdown

Kiwi basketballer Isaac Fotu is struggling to come to terms with life in the Italian city of Treviso, which he likens to a "ghost town" under coronavirus lockdown.

With the pandemic taking a grip on Europe, the Italian government has ordered a nationwide ban on gatherings of more than 1000 people.

Fotu, who plays for Universo Treviso in the top flight of Italian basketball, is currently in limbo, with the league on hold indefinitely.

Speaking to Newshub, the 26-year-old describes the "surreal" scenes around one of the most populous parts of the northern province of Veneto. 

"I have a piece of paper that allows me to get around because of our work within sport," says Fotu. "But me and a few guys went into the town centre today, and it was dead - a ghost town. 

"It's a weird, surreal feeling."

That could be Fotu's last outing outside the confines of his apartment for awhile, after two doctors from a rival team contracted the virus.

The league has now ordered all team training facilities shut down until further notice. 

"It's been pretty boring," Fotu told Newshub. "Our gym is closed, so I've been working out at home today.

"It's like a prison workout, but I have to try and do something to stay in shape, as I don't know when the league might resume. It's better to be prepared just in case.

"I would be a bad prisoner," he laughs. "I'm getting pretty restless here, doing nothing, but it could be worse, I guess."

If the league is officially cancelled, Fotu reveals he would be on the first available flight back to New Zealand, but also understands the protocols he would face on his arrival home. 

"There is a real sense of uncertainty about what's happening - just waiting for word from someone around the league continuing or not. 

"If the season gets cancelled, then I would like to return home - go into quarantine for two weeks and do all the things I need to do, but I want to come home, when or If the season gets cancelled. 

"It's a bit of a waiting game."

Fotu has enjoyed his stint at the Italian club that was in the second division just a year ago.

The Tall Blacks big man is Treviso's starting power forward and has had a successful season with a side exceeding expectations. 

Treviso sit three spots above relegation, with an outside chance of making the playoffs, should the league resume.

But Fotu admits he may have played his final game for the club, as he eyes a move to a European heavyweight. 

"It's a great town and a great organisation to play for, but at the same time, I have goals to play for the highest clubs in Europe, so we will see how that pans out."

Fotu confirmed he is available for the Tall Blacks' last-chance Olympic qualifying bid in June, should it still go ahead.