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Illustration by Security Management

Italy Cuts Venice Carnival Short Over Coronavirus Concerns

Italian officials ended the Venice Carnival—an annual festival that attracts thousands of people—two days early as COVID-19 coronavirus cases continue to climb. Italy has the most coronavirus cases in Europe and the largest number outside of Asia, with 152 confirmed cases and three deaths, according to the BBC. In an effort to contain the virus, strict quarantine restrictions have been imposed in two northern hotspots near Milan and Venice.

Under the quarantine, roughly 50,000 people cannot enter or leave several towns in Veneto and Lombardy without special permission over the next two weeks. Throughout the area, activities for businesses and schools—as well as sporting events—have been cancelled or suspended.

Buses, trains, and other public transit vehicles—including boats in Venice—were disinfected, and museums were ordered to shut down after Sunday in Venice, The Associated Press reports. The early cancellation of Carnival hits during one of Venice’s busiest tourist seasons, marking another economic cost of coronavirus containment.

This year's Fashion Week in Milan, which normally draws thousands of high-profile attendees, has cancelled many in-person events in favor of live-streamed collections and fashion shows, Bloomberg reports.

The viral outbreak has infected more than 79,000 people globally, and more than 2,600 people have died from the virus. The vast majority of cases and deaths are reported in China.

“Travel restrictions, business closures, and other efforts in China aimed at containing the spread of the virus have begun to disrupt supply chains and sales prospects for Apple and other big companies,” AP reports. “As the virus begins to disrupt other countries more severely—with business events being canceled in South Korea and Italy, for example—some economists worry about a hit to economic growth that cannot be easily assuaged by authorities. Central banks can cut interest rates and governments can cut taxes, but that will do little in the short term to ease the disruption to supply chains.”

ASIS International has compiled an assortment of resources for disease outbreak security and business continuity here, and a webinar on crisis management around the coronavirus is scheduled for Thursday, 27 February.