Coronavirus: Italy orders closure of schools and universities

Italy orders closure of all schools and universities as country attempts to contain spread of Coronavirus.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has signed emergency legislation ordering the closure of all schools and universities throughout Italy, from 5 - 15 March, as the country seeks to contain the spread of a Coronavirus outbreak.

The news - now confirmed - follows earlier reports in Italian media which were subsequently denied by the government but not before being reported around the world.

Italian schools are already closed in the northern regions worst hit by the Coronavirus emergency - Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna - as well as in Piemonte and Friuli Venezia Giulia and in the province of Savona, in Liguria, and Pesaro-Urbino, in Marche.

Government guidelines

The Italian government has also issued a set of nationwide guidelines to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, which are in place for the next month.

The guidelines include avoiding greeting people with handshakes, hugs or kisses; avoiding crowded places; and using a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing.

The guidelines also include the recommendation that sporting events be held behind closed doors.

The emergency measures come as the number of Coronavirus infections in Italy reaches 2,706 cases, with 107 deaths.

Official information

For all official information relating to Coronavirus see Italy's health ministry website.