Italy is attempting to contain the first-ever major outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Europe. The coronavirus crisis that began in China in late December has rapidly turned into a pandemic of epic proportions as approximately 2,000 people have died from the disease worldwide, most of which took place in China. Now, Europe is potentially the next continent to face rising death tolls as highly-populated areas in Italy are starting to experience more verified cases of the disease amongst its citizens.  

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According to The New York Times, Italian government officials have been scrambling to contain the disease after revealing that 150 verified cases have been diagnosed within the country's borders. The government has locked a total of ten townships near the city of Milan closing schools, large public venues, and canceling the world-renowned Venice carnival. 

The new cases discovered in the  Lombardy region of the country only had five known cases of the coronavirus before Thursday. Now, with the number skyrocketing into the hundreds less than three days, the Italian government is struggling to protect its citizens from being infected. According to an emergency measures announcement issued by Attilio Fontana, president of the Lombardy region, late Saturday night, all events whether "cultural, leisure, religious or sporting" have been postponed. 

As of right now, there are at least 50,000 people currently on lockdown. On Sunday (Feb. 23), police and armed forces personnel were stationed to monitor the entrances and exits to the towns near Milan. 

The Italian coronavirus outbreak began in the city of Codogno after a 38-year old man, also known as 'patient zero' had been diagnosed with the disease. Apparently, he had begun to develop symptoms several days prior to seeking medical treatment which could have possibly helped spread the disease throughout Lombardy. 

While a coronavirus vaccine has supposedly been developed, this has been one of the quickest spreading outbreaks to occur yet.