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As coronavirus slams #Italy, paralysis and anxiety spread - Reuters…
As the economic shocks reverberate across Europe, Italians are still trying to get to grips with how a seemingly isolated case could balloon within days, to bring the eurozone's third-largest economy to the brink of recession.
Lombardy, the region around Italy's financial capital, Milan, is one of the richest and most productive in Europe.

Along with Veneto, the other main area hit by the coronavirus outbreak, it generates around a third of Italy's economic output.
"In Veneto, we have 600,000 businesses and we make 150 billion euros ($165 billion) of GDP per year, if we go into recession, Italy will fail," said Luca Zaia, governor of the region of Veneto.
The illness is spread through the air and can leave some people symptom-free while local authorities say about two in 100 develop fatal complications including pneumonia, making it a stealth killer able to infect thousands without their knowing it.
Milan is also one of the world's major fashion centers.

Fashion Week in late February did survive - after a fashion, as it were - but it was affected. Giorgio Armani's collection was shown without an audience.
The Italian economy is in bad shape.

In 2019, total production of goods and services was approximately the same as it was 15 years earlier.

What's more, it was still 4% below the level it reached in 2007, just before the financial crisis.
Already some flights to northern Italy have been cancelled.

Professor Roberto Perotti of Bocconi University in Milan tells the BBC that tourist numbers will go to almost zero in the near future.
Its government debt is equivalent to 133% of GDP.

In the EU, only Greece exceeds that figure.

EU rules for the government finances set a target of 60% or less.
Italy probably can't expect very much help from monetary policy, which is in the hands of the European Central Bank.

Interest rates are already very low: one of the ECB's main rates is below zero.
Even while EU health ministers braved the “threat” and came to Rome this week to announce solidarity and plead that there is no need to close the borders to stem the spread, several countries and lots of companies are doing it anyway.
British Airways cancelled direct flights to Milan citing a “decreased demand” and Israel and Mauritius banned all flights from Italy no matter where they take off from.
Dr. Adrian Hyzler, chief medical officer of Healix International, says it is far too late to restrict travel to and from Italy and other places.

The virus is now in nearly 60 countries.
The first cases in at least 14 countries, including Mexico, Brazil and Nigeria, have been infected Italians who traveled to those regions from northern Italy, possibly subjecting everyone on their flight along the way.
Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch suggested to The Atlantic this week that trying to stop the unstoppable will only make it seem worse.
The 29 deaths so far in the country all occurred in patients who had serious health conditions.

They most likely died “with” coronavirus, not because of it.
Video: folks at a small town in Veneto protest the lockdown,…
No one is wearing a face mask.
» ‘It’s the last nail in the coffin’: Venice empties as coronavirus spreads | The Guardian…
The floods reduced turnover in Venice by 40% in the final quarter of last year, and estimates suggest the virus will cause a downturn of 30-40% in this quarter.

More than 40% of hotel bookings have been cancelled.
In #Italy, the head of the country’s civil protection agency has confirmed the death toll now stands at 34, five more than a yesterday, while the number of infections has risen 50% to 1,694.
» Dominican Republic health officials reports first coronavirus case in tourist-heavy Caribbean (AP)…
Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas said the 62 years old Italian man had arrived in the country on Feb. 22 without showing symptoms.

He was being treated in isolation at a military hospital and “has not shown serious complications.”
Italy is living in a strange, suspended time. Milan, its most energetic city, seems anxious to get back to business as usual, but that won’t be quick, nor easy. The country holds its breath and waits.…
» Italy coronavirus deaths jump to 52, cases climb above 2,000 - Reuters…
» Italy's hospitals reach breaking point as Rome boosts funding to help virus-hit economy…
Milan's Mayor Beppe Sala called on the Italian government, and Europe, for financial assistance.

"Milan is a city that has always given, at this moment it must be in a position to ask," he said in the City Council.
Life is on hold for citizens in Italy's most impacted regions where around a dozen towns remain under quarantine and schools, sports arenas, churches, theaters and bars are closed.

The quarantine measures are expected to be in place until at least March 8.
National Health Institute chief Silvio Brusaferro urged Italians to wash their hands frequently, remain at least a meter apart, refrain from hugging each other and avoid crowded places.
Italy may close all schools and universities until the middle of March.

79 people have died from the virus while the number of confirmed cases has risen to 2,502.
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