March 04, 2020
The Italian government is hours away from deciding whether to close all schools and universities across the country until mid-March in a further attempt to contain the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe.
Italy Could Close All Schools And Universities Over Coronavirus Outbreak
The government shuttered schools and universities in the worst-affected regions in northern Italy some 10 days ago and quarantined a handful of towns at the centre of the outbreak.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ansa news agency said the closures decision had been taken but Italian education minister Lucia Azzolina said the final word was due “in the next few hours”.
At least 79 people have died and more than 2,500 been infected with the illness in Italy.
The region of Lombardy has been the epicentre of Italy’s outbreak, registering the first positive test. Alarmingly, 10% of Lombardy’s doctors and nurses are out of commission, because they tested positive for the virus and are in quarantine, said the region’s top health official, Giulio Gallera earlier this week.Lombardy’s regional government has asked the central government to reactivate retired doctors and nurses and get them back on the payroll.
The country is also likely to order all top-flight Serie A soccer games to be played behind closed doors in efforts to curb the outbreak, the sports minister said on Wednesday.
“We are heading towards that decision,” Vincenzo Spadafora told reporters when asked if the government was thinking of barring fans.
The government last month banned sporting events in the worst-affected northern regions. So far, 10 Serie A matches have been postponed as well as two in the Coppa Italia.
As of Wednesday, 51 people in the UK had been diagnosed with the virus. One Brit has so far died abroad.An earlier version of this story stated the decision had already been taken to close all schools and universities in Italy. We regret the error and are happy to provide clarification. Related... Boris Johnson Announces Statutory Sick Pay From Day One To Fight Coronavirus Coronavirus Latest: 5 Things You Need To Know About The Covid-19 Outbreak Coronavirus Attack: Police Release CCTV Of Group Wanted Over Attack On Singapore Student
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