Italy Closes All Schools and Universities and Plans a Ban on Kissing to Stop the Coronavirus Spread as Death Toll Hits 107

A schoolteacher looks at his shuttered workplace in the small town of Bareggio near Milan – it has been closed since last month but today the government has rolled out the strict measure to every school and university in the country until mid-March

Italy will close all schools and universities, the government said today, to protect against the coronavirus which has infected more than 2,500 in the country and killed 79.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government is also expected to release new rules which will tell the nation they cannot kiss because of the virus.

As part of today’s measures, schools and universities will be shuttered until mid-March, while the government is advising against kissing, hugging and shaking hands, ANSA reported.

The guidance expected to be circulated nationwide later today also advises people to stand three feet apart at all times, even indoors, to protect against saliva droplets which can transmit the disease.

The three northern regions in the ‘red zone’ – Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna – have already had their schools closed since last month.

Ten percent of virus patients in Italy were in intensive care with respiratory problems, the health chief of the Lombardy region in northern Italy has said.

Giulio Gallera said that they were almost exclusively over 65 years old and asked all elderly people in the region to leave home as little as possible for the next two weeks.

Giovanni Rezza, the head of the infectious diseases department at the national health institute, yesterday said that schools were a key area to keep control of the virus.

‘Not because children are vulnerable – they don’t suffer as much as adults – but they can transmit it to parents and grandparents,’ he said.

He also had a warning for countries like the UK where the virus is starting to spread, saying: ‘Be very careful and contain clusters as soon as possible.’

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Source: Daily Mail