Italy is now the epicenter of COVID-19 in Europe, with 1,835 cases – 272 of which were added on March 2.
The outbreak is centered on the northern of Lombardy and some 50,000 people in 11 towns are currently under lockdown. It has led to the cancellation of major events, such as portions of the Venice carnival, Milan Fashion Week, the Bologna Marathon, and several Serie A football matches.
The closures come at a significant economic cost; in the case of the tourism industry, one that has an immediate and severe impact on small businesses. And given Italy’s weak fundamentals even before COVID-19 hit, there’s a lot more pain to come.