Italy has confirmed more than 200 cases of the novel coronavirus, making it the most-affected country in Europe and sparking travel advisories as far away as Ireland.
Authorities in northern Italy, where the majority of the cases have been confirmed, are on a hunt to find the original source and to contain the outbreak from spreading further across the country. CNN reported five deaths from the coronavirus in Italy, where the majority of cases are in the northern region of Lombardy.
The city of Venice is taking precautions against the virus and has canceled its annual Carnival celebrations ahead of schedule. The event, which draws hundreds of thousands of attendees, was scheduled to go through Tuesday but was shut down over the weekend. The fashion hub of Milan, the capital of Lombardy, was also impacted, closing the popular Milan Fashion Week to the public and forcing big-name brands including Giorgio Armani to debut new designs without the public as witnesses. According to a Bloomberg report, live streams have stepped in for public-facing events in some cases. Italy’s top soccer league, Serie A, has also canceled matches in much of northern Italy.
Beyond major festivals and sporting events, many public buildings have been closed and public transportation slowed to a halt in the region, under orders from Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
At least one train passing from Italy into neighboring Austria has been stopped at the border after two passengers reported symptoms. The train continued on when the travelers tested negative. One bus traveling from Italy to France was stopped in Lyons on Monday over suspicions that one passenger was suffering from the virus. The traveler was transported to a hospital.