The new coronavirus has reached Europe and is spreading. Stock markets plunged when the virus hit Italy, which is the EU’s third-largest economy. The disease-cluster is in Italy’s Lombardy region, the country’s economic heartland. Northern Italy’s economy is already suffering: Venice’s famous Carnival had to be cancelled early. Cafés and hotels there remain empty. Tourism accounts for 13 percent of the Italian economy. Fashion is also flailing. The most important fashion shows and design fairs take place in Milan, in Lombardy. And Italy’s economy is tightly intertwined with other EU countries. If Italy’s borders were to close, it would be a disaster for all of Europe. Meanwhile, many Chinese are returning to work as factories closed over the coronavirus begin to re-open their doors. However, there remain plenty of businesses that still can’t function because of the outbreak. Some of them risk bankruptcy if their supply chains aren’t reinstated soon.
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