- Italy’s minister of education on Wednesday announced that all public schools and universities would close from March 5 to March 15 amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
- In addition to the closure of schools, Italy plans to take other steps like cancelling all public events that require people to occupy the same yard of space, according to Reuters.
- Italy has so far experienced one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks outside of China, with more than 2,500 cases and 79 deaths reported.
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The government of Italy announced on Wednesday new steps to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, including the closure of public schools and universities for 11 days, according to Sky News and The Guardian.
Lucia Azzolina, Italy’s minister of education, said schools will close from March 5 until March 15 while the nation attempts to grapple with the ongoing outbreak. At least 2,502 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country and 79 people have died.
Italy also plans to take additional steps to further limit the spread of the virus. According to Reuters, the government has called for the cancelation of any event that requires the “concentration of people” that does not allow for more than about a yard of space between individuals.
According to a previous Reuters report, some Italian schools had already been closed in certain regions that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Schools had adapted new online tools to help keep classes going remotely, though it’s unclear if that will continue on a country-wide basis following the announcement Wednesday.
There is no national system of online education, according to the Reuters report.
US universities have also cancelled and called back American students studying abroad in Italy as the virus has spread there. Syracuse and New York universities in New York, Fairfield University in Connecticut, and Elon University in North Carolina are just some of the schools nationwide that have cancelled study abroad programs, Business Insider’s Rhea Mahbubani previously reported. Around 100 students from various institutions in Vermont alone had their study abroad trips to Italy and China cancelled, VTDigger reported.
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced every school in would close for at least a month. In China, all schools are closed until the coronavirus is no longer a public-health emergency. About 180 million children in China are learning from home, taking classes online, or watching primary-school classes on TV.
The vast majority of the coronavirus cases have been reported in China. As of Wednesday, more than 94,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed and 3,200 people have died worldwide.