Italy quarantines towns, cancels Venice's Carnival amid surprise coronavirus outbreak

Venice cancels Carnival
(Image credit: Andrea Pattaro/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy jumped from three reported cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus last week to four deaths at least 190 people testing positive in the northern part of the country by Monday. In response, Italy quarantined a dozen towns and sent masked police officers to guard checkpoints, canceled soccer matches and closed schools, scrapped the final day of Milan Fashion Week, and called off Venice's Carnivale, its famed annual pre-Lenten masked bacchanalia. At the same time, Italian authorities pleaded for calm, noting that the virus has a lower mortality rate than the flu and that all four people who died were elderly.

Italy instituted strict travel bans and airport screenings on Jan. 31, and authorities still haven't located the source of the sudden outbreak. Austria has temporarily suspended cross-border travel with Italy and other European countries are considering similar actions.

South Korea and Iran also have rising numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths, raising concerns about global spread of the virus, which started in Wuhan, China. South Korea, with 833 confirmed cases and seven deaths, has the highest number of infections outside China. Iran state media has reported 12 deaths from the coronavirus, though the death toll in the holy city of Qom is said to have hit 50.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Fears about the global economic impact of the coronavirus helped send stock markets sharply lower on Monday, with European indices leading the declines.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us