The Italian government is considering closing schools and universities until mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak, local media reports say.
The plan to close schools and universities across the country until mid-March was reportedly discussed at a government meeting focusing on the introduction of emergency measures for tackling the spread of coronavirus.
Responding to the reports, Italian Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said that the decision – reported by the Italian news agency Ansa and several local outlets – had not yet been taken but would be decided “in the next few hours”.
Earlier officials reported a jump in cases and deaths from the virus.
Italy has reported a 50% jump in deaths in the past 24 hours, with the total standing at 79. Most of the deaths are in Lombardy.
Meanwhile, World Bank announces $12 billion aid package for developing countries struggling with the virus.
The emergency package includes low-cost loans, grants and technical assistance.
The action comes as leaders around the world pledge to shield their countries from the economic impact of the outbreak.
It follows warnings that slowdown from the outbreak could tip countries into recession.
The aid is intended to help countries improve their public health response to the crisis, as well as work with the private sector to reduce the economic impact.
Authorities have confirmed more than 92,000 cases of the virus worldwide of which more than 80,000 are in China. More than 3,000 people have died globally, the vast majority in China.