Italy on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 closed all schools including Universities until March 15 2020 as the number of deaths from the new coronavirus in the Mediterranean country hit 107.
The measure is the most restrictive response to COVID-19 of any European nation and tougher than the closure of schools, but not universities taken by fellow Group of Seven (G7) member Japan.
Italy reported 28 more deaths on Wednesday, the highest single day total to date. The nation of 60 million people has now recorded over 3,000 cases and only trails China in terms of total fatalities.
Other measures discussed by top ministers and reported by Italian media include what promises to be an unpopular plan to play all football matches without fans for a month.
Italy has borne the brunt in Europe of a disease that is now spreading across the world faster than it is in the central Chinese region where it was first detected late last year.
The problem for the Italian government is that existing restrictions — including quarantine of 11 towns with 50,000 people in the north — have failed to stop the outbreak.
The overwhelming majority of the fatalities have occurred in Milan’s Lombardy region and the neighbouring northern area around the cities of Bologna and Venice.
But 21 of the 22 regions have now had cases and infections are slowly reaching Italy’s less wealthy and developed south.