Italian stocks plunged in early trade Monday morning, as the euro zone’s third-largest economy grappled with the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia.
European markets screeched lower in early deals with the FTSE MIB index trading 990 points down at 23,808, or 4% lower. Shares of Italian banks fell sharply while the stock of Juventus soccer club was briefly halted after falling 11%.
There are widespread concerns over the spread of the virus in northern Italy; the country now has 152 confirmed cases and four deaths due to the virus as of Monday morning, with a sharp spike in cases over the weekend.
The government has placed around a dozen towns in the north under quarantine with the wealthy regions of Lombardy and Veneto — where the cities of Milan and Venice are located respectively — the focus of the rise in coronavirus cases. The regions make up around 30% of Italy’s economic output, while the majority of the quarantined towns are just south of the financial hub of…