Italy Closes All Schools Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Rome taking drastic measures to combat spread

Image Credits: Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Italian media reported Wednesday Italy was closing all schools and universities until mid-March amid a coronavirus outbreak as governments around the world continue to take measures to keep the virus from spreading.

Italy reported a sharp increase in coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, up to 79, the most outside of China. Iran, meanwhile, has again canceled Friday prayers in major cities.

With China seeing a slowdown of new cases of the virus, the focus on containing the outbreak has shifted to places such as Italy and Iran, which have not only seen their own cases steadily increase, but have also had their citizens and others who traveled from those areas test positive while in other countries.

India, which has linked cases to Italian tourists, said Wednesday the number of cases there jumped from five to 28.

South Korea reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, as health officials said more than 2,000 people in the city hardest hit by the outbreak, Daegu, were waiting for open spaces in hospitals.

South Korea has seen the most cases outside of China, and is planning to spend about $10 billion on medical resources and measures to counteract the economic impact of the outbreak.

Wednesday also brought news of the first death in Iraq, where so far all of its cases are connected to Iran.

Worldwide, the coronavirus has infected more than 93,000 people and killed more than 3,100, with the vast majority in both categories in China.

The expansion of the outbreak has reached several new countries, including Jordan, Morocco, Senegal, Portugal and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has banned its citizens from performing the Muslim pilgrimage in Mecca.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged people around the world Tuesday to stop hoarding masks and other protective gear, saying health care workers need them.

Experts say surgical masks are not guaranteed protection against the virus, but say they are essential equipment for doctors and nurses.

Tedros said he is concerned about the “severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment caused by rising demand.”

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