Italy closes all schools and universities in bid to contain coronavirus

The Italian government has decided to close schools and universities across the country until mid-March in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak 

The Italian government has decided to close schools and universities across the country until mid-March in a further attempt to contain the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe, it was announced on Wednesday.  

The government closed schools and universities in the worst-affected regions in northern Italy some 10 days ago and quarantined a handful of towns at the epicentre of the outbreak. However, the contagion has spread, with at least 79 people dying and more than 2,500 infected.

On Tuesday doctors called on the government to cancel all tourist flights from northern Italy as a precaution to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in Malta.

The Medical Association of Malta accused the government of failing in its duty to protect the health of the population by overruling the advice of health professionals.

Superintendent of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci also said during a meeting with the press that Malta was prepared to start dealing with the first cases of Covid-19.

“We are prepared for the start of the first cases in the country,” she said, adding that out of 56 swabs, all resulted in the negative and that no such cases have been reported yet.

Gauci reiterated that Covid-19 is a mild virus, where only 5% require intensive care. 80% of cases, she said, recover without the need of hospitalisation.

The total number of Covid-19 cases, originating in Wuhan in China, now stands at 94,255, killing 3,220 individuals. 51,202 people have recovered from the virus.

South Korea and Iran have seen 435 and 586 new cases. The UK has seen 53 cases.

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