Italy to close all schools as Coronavirus deaths rise

Italy has confirmed that it will shut all schools from Thursday for 10 days as it battles to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

And all professional sport, including Serie A football matches, will be played behind closed doors for a month.

A total of 107 people have now been killed by the coronavirus in Italy, which has the most serious outbreak in Europe.

PM Giuseppe Conte said the health service risked being overwhelmed.

Most of the more than 3,000 cases are in the north but others have been confirmed in 19 of Italy’s 20 regions.

Globally about 3,200 people have died and more than 90,000 have been infected, the vast majority in China, where the virus emerged late last year.

The World Health Organization has so far stopped short of declaring a pandemic – an epidemic spreading across the world through local transmission – but on Wednesday Germany’s health minister said the coronavirus now met the definition.

“The situation is changing very quickly… What’s clear is that we have not yet reached the peak of the outbreak,” Jens Spahn said.

Confirmed cases have been reported in 81 countries, with Italy, Iran and South Korea emerging as hotspots outside China. (BBC News)

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