The Latest Coronavirus Victim: The Mona Lisa

Staff at the Louvre in Paris refuse to go to work out of fears of the virus

January 28, 2020, Paris, France: Chinese tourists wear face mask as they kiss each other near the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, on January 28, 2020. Apaydin Alain/Abaca via ZUMA Press

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If you hadn’t already, you might want to rethink your European vacation this year. The coronavirus outbreak has led to the closure of any number of tourist attractions around the globe, from Beijing’s Forbidden City and a Disney theme park in Shanghai to the Museo Correr in Venice. But now the Louve, the world’s most-visited museum, will be added to the list. On Sunday, the beloved Parisian institution had to shut its doors after the staff walked off the job over concerns that the museum was not adequately prepared to deal with the coronavirus, according to Reuters. It wasn’t clear when the museum might reopen. The museum had already suffered from a drop in visitors as tourists from China have dwindled because of the epidemic.

France, which has at least 100 confirmed cases of the disease, had already banned large gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces and canceled a half-marathon scheduled for Sunday in Paris. More than 5,000 people a day typically pass through the doors of the Louvre, and an emergency meeting at the museum Sunday failed to assuage concerns of the staff. Management was unable to convince people to go back to work. 

That decision follows the lead of Italy, which has nearly 2,000 reported cases of the virus and 34 people have died from it. Italy has shuttered cultural institutions all across the country, and ended the annual Carnival in Venice two days early. 

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