Italy’s government is considering closing schools to limit the spread of the new Coronavirus, although a senior government official on Wednesday denied an earlier report that a decision to that effect had already been taken.
The Italian news agency, Ansa, first announced that the government had decided to close schools and universities from Thursday to mid-March. Ansa said the decision followed a cabinet meeting on Wednesday at which suggestions made on the previous day at a session of Italy’s scientific and technical committee were discussed. The committee recommended measures such as maintaining a safe distance between persons, avoiding handshakes and greeting kisses, and holding football matches behind closed doors, the news agency reported.
However, Education Minister Lucia Azzolina later denied that the Government had already decided to close the schools. She was quoted by various national and international media as saying that the decision on whether to do so would be made in the next few hours.
Italy is the country with the third-worst rate of infection and deaths from the Coronavirus, after China and South Korea. According to an update issued on Tuesday, it has registered 79 deaths from the virus and 2,502 cases of infection.