According to an article from NPR on March 8th, the total number of Coronavirus cases surpassed 100,000 globally across more than 100 countries.
In response, Italy issued a massive shut down which is effecting almost a quarter of the countries population and greatly restricting transportation within Italian borders.
The article states that the quarantine includes the cities of Milan and Venice along with the entirety of northern Lombardy. According to the Italian prime minister, by Sunday there were more than 7,300 people who fell ill and 366 who had died, an increase from the total of 133 that were recorded dead the day before.
Milan-Malpensa airport (MPX) is a major cargo center for air shipments destined for locations within northern Italy. Any restriction in the airport's operations is sure to cause significant disruption to air freight shipments.
However Italy is not alone, as Saudi Arabia also bolstered its travel restrictions over the weekend. According to an article from Al-Jazeera Saudi Arabian authorities have ordered a lock down in the eastern Qatif region.
This raises concern as the region of Qatif is only 30.6 km (19.01 miles) north of Dammam, which houses King Abdul Aziz Port, the busiest sea port in Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, the city of Riyadh announced that it was closing down all public and private schools and universities across the nation from Monday until further notice.
As the spread of the virus continues, it is expected that these lock downs will extend to further regions within Italian and Saudi Arabian borders.
This will lead to the added closure of offices, factories and ports/airports which will cause great difficulty in moving freight shipments, just like the difficulties already being experienced in China, Japan and South Korea.
Companies that do business in these countries should continue to monitor the situation and prepare for anticipated disruptions to global supply chains and business operations.
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