Following the outbreak of coronavirus disease, the Italian government confirmed the country’s first case on 30 January 2020. The COVID cases in Italy reached 17,660 on 13 March, marking the biggest coronavirus outbreak. The country also replaced South Korea as the second most affected coronavirus country in the world with the cases increasing at a higher rate than in Korea. On March 8th, Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the lockdown (quarantine) of the affected regions in the northern part of the country to avoid spread to the rest of the country. As COVID cases were detected across the country, within 2 days, the quarantine was extended to entire Italy. The lockdown also prompted the cancellation of the annual Venice carnival and closure of some major landmarks. The affected region is populated by over 16million people, nearly a quarter of the Italian population. Quarantines covered an area of roughly 56,000 square kilometres.
On the other hand, the impact of the wider quarantine is predicted to bring the European economy as a whole into a recession. An economist at London-based consultancy Capital Economics estimated Italy’s 2020 GDP decline to be 2% after the national lockdown. However, the quarantine period will depend upon how soon the number of new cases and deaths will decline.