While the spread of the virus is abating in China, Italy has become an epicentre for the coronavirus in Europe, with cases linked to the country emerging in Spain, France, Austria, Germany and even Algeria.

Italian authorities on Wednesday were on full containment mode as they battled the spread of the coronavirus in Northern Italy and the perception that the government is not doing enough to halt its spread.

The number of people contracting the coronavirus has exploded to 322 according to the Italian government. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has tried to allay fears that the virus is not beyond containment.

The third-largest European economy now has the most affected amount of people outside of Asia.

As of Wednesday, the Italian government confirmed that 11 Italians have died. The vast majority of the cases are concentrated in the region of Lombardy, one of the wealthiest regions in Italy, which account for more than 21 percent of GDP.

Italy's tourism industry is also likely to suffer significantly with signs that travellers are cancelling their holidays as a precautionary measure.

The UK Foreign Office has issued a travel warning to citizens not to visit the affected areas in northern Italy, a holiday destination for more than three million UK citizens.

If the number of infected continues to increase dramatically, this may have significant ramifications for Italy's already shaky economy and fractured political system.

Further afield, Italy is becoming an epicentre for the coronavirus in the Mediterranean with cases linked to the country emerging in Spain, France, Austria, Germany and even Algeria.

The spread of the Coronavirus from Italy.
The spread of the Coronavirus from Italy. (TRTWorld)

European Union members have not yet decided to close their borders with Italy; however, if the government doesn't contain the virus, this stance may very well change.

Such a move by EU members to isolate Italy could also have dramatic political consequences, the last time members started to close borders with each other was during the 2015 migration crises - which tested the bloc's solidarity.

In a bid to contain the crisis, the Italian government has effectively put more than 100,000 people under quarantine in the northern areas.

The central government has instituted a series of draconian measures to stop people entering or leaving the affected areas, suspending public events and closing tourist attractions.

The rapid spread of the virus in Italy will have policymakers and politicians across the EU worried that containment would be difficult given the bloc's free movement of people and goods.

Italian authorities have also been unable to identify patient 0. Authorities have admitted that the hospital dealing with the first patient bungled procedures meant to deal with such situations allowing the virus to spread for 36 hours, missing a critical window of opportunity.

As the spread of the coronavirus in China is declining it now seems to be spreading across the world. China still has the largest number of infected people and the highest number that have died from the disease.

Iran, like Italy in Europe, has become a key country in spreading the virus in the Middle East with cases appearing in Bahrain and the UAE, which were linked to Shia pilgrims returning from the city of Qom.

Iran has reported 19 deaths, however, many believe the number could be higher.

The coronavirus, which started in China, has now infected more than 79,000 people globally and caused more than 2,700 deaths, the vast majority in China.

The Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch, speaking to the Atlantic, recently noted: “I think the likely outcome is that it [Coronavirus] will ultimately not be containable.”

Source: TRT World