• Over three days, there was a rapid spike in confirmed cases in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto increasing from three confirmed cases on Friday to 215 people by Monday.
  • Authorities have closed down 12 towns as they try to stop the virus from spreading. These photos show what it looks like on the ground.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

Italy is now the European epicenter for the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

It was a dramatic weekend for coronavirus cases in Italy. On Friday morning there were only three confirmed cases. By Monday, more than 215 had been confirmed and a sixth person had died. According to the Washington Post , cases of the coronavirus are rising, nearly every hour.

Authorities still don't know where the coronavirus originated in Italy, making it hard to track and stop.

Authorities put 12 towns on lockdown and closed some of the country's most famous attractions to curb the virus' spread. Wary citizens are stockpiling food.

Here's how Italy is dealing with the coronavirus, in photos.

Italy, a country filled with tourist destinations like Venice's canals and Rome's Colosseum, is now dealing with a sudden and threatening outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus.

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Andrea Pattaro / AFP / Getty

It's been a concern for tourists for months, and as far back as January, masks were already selling out in downtown Rome. The US Centers for Disease Control doesn't recommend uninfected people wear masks, but they can be beneficial for people who have symptoms of the virus.

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Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty

Source: Business Insider

Over the weekend, the virus spiked. In only a few days, three confirmed cases ballooned to 215 cases, with six deaths.

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Claudio Furlan/Lapresse / AP

Source: Business Insider

Outside of Asia, Italy now has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world.

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Antonio Masiello/Getty

Source: Business Insider

One Italian shop owner named Carlo Benuzzi told the Washington Post, "All the things you used to see in films that are far from us, now you see them here."

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Marco Sabadin / AFP / Getty

Source: Washington Post

Lombardy and Veneto, both in northern Italy, are the two regions with the most confirmed cases. According to the Financial Times, they make up about a third of Italy's economy, and the virus's impact could be damaging to its struggling economy.

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Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty

Source: FT

In Milan, Lombardy's capital, the streets are deserted. As of Monday, the region had 167 confirmed cases.

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Flavio Lo Scalzo / Reuters

Sources: CNN , Washington Post

Despite Milan appearing abandoned, it's not an easy city to contain. It has the second busiest airport in Italy, and trains constantly pass through, with daily routes to Rome.

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Luca Bruno / AP

Sources: CNN , Washington Post

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte told RAI, Italy's state broadcaster, he was surprised by the "explosion of cases," and his government was doing everything it could to contain the virus.

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Virginia Mayo / AP

Source: FT

Italian authorities are trying to minimize the virus' ability to spread. They have cancelled sports games, as well as closed schools, universities, restaurants, and tourist attractions, like the Duomo cathedral in Milan.

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Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty

Sources: Washington Post , AP

Milan's fashion week was impacted, although not hugely. On Sunday, fashion designer Giorgio Armani held a show without a live audience. Instead, people could watch it via livestream.

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Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters

Sources: FT , BBC , The Independent

For Venice, where two cases have been confirmed, authorities suspended the final two days of the famous Venice Carnival.

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Laura Lezza/Getty

Sources: CNN , FT

It's a much-loved occasion and some people still participated with traditional outfits.

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Ohad Zwigenberg / Reuters

For a while, at least, people in Venice were sporting two very different types of masks one for the carnival and one for the virus ...

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Ohad Zwigenberg / Reuters

... or a combination of the two.

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Andrea Pattaro / AFP / Getty

In Ivrea, another northern city, a traditional festival known as the "Battle of the Oranges" was also suspended.

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Marco Alpozzi / Lapresse / AP

Things escalated late on Saturday. A dozen Italian towns were put on lockdown. According to a BBC map, the largest cluster of towns are to the southeast of Milan, while another town is to the west of Venice.

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Claudio Furlan/Lapresse / AP

Sources: Business Insider , Washington Post , FT , BBC

Masked police are monitoring checkpoints. Anyone who wants to enter or leave requires special permission. The quarantine in the towns affects about 50,000 people.

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Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty

Sources: Business Insider , Washington Post , FT

One resident named Andrea Casilas, from Vo'Euganeo, a town that's blocked off, told AP, "This wasn't a very exciting place to begin with. Since we can't go to the bar, there's no much left to do."

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Miguel Medina / AFP / Getty

Source: AP

And people, fearing that there could be worse to come, are cleaning out supermarkets.

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Paolo Santalucia / AP

Sources: Washington Post , BBC

A woman named Colette Walsh, who lives in Lissone, told the BBC that people were "panic-buying" and shelves were already empty.

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Antonio Calanni / AP

Sources: Washington Post , BBC

On Monday, as numbers continued to rise, officials still weren't sure how the virus entered Italy.

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Luca Bruno / AP

Sources: Washington Post , BBC , The New York Times

Outside of Italy, the rest of Europe is taking it seriously. Borders are being monitored, and a train heading to Austria was stopped until a person with flu-like symptoms was given the all-clear.

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Lino Mirgeler/picture alliance / Getty

Sources: Washington Post , BBC , The New York Times

For now, Italy is trying to stop the virus from spreading. It's own all-clear could be weeks away, if not longer.

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Claudio Furlan/LaPresse / AP

Sources: Washington Post , BBC , The New York Times

See Also:

SEE ALSO: How SARS terrified the world in 2003, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing 774

DON'T MISS: Italy put 12 towns on coronavirus lockdown after 215 cases and 5 deaths made it the most-infected country outside of Asia