Italy Closes Schools and Universities as Coronavirus Spreads
On Wednesday, the Italian government announced it would close all schools and universities following the coronavirus outbreak.
Lucia Azzolina, the education minister, said school closure would take effect from May 5 to 15th.
Italy is the worst -affected country from the coronavirus outside Asia. Moreover, Italy has overtaken Iran in terms of the death toll and infections.
On Tuesday, the death toll in Italy rose to 79 from 52 reported on Monday. By Wednesday morning, Italy reported 2,502 coronavirus cases. The numbers in Italy surpassed Iran’s official infection count – until the Islamic Republic released its latest official infection and death toll. On Wednesday, 92 people had died from the virus and 2,922 infected in Iran. However, there is speculation about its accuracy.
The coronavirus’ outbreak focus in Italy is in the wealthy northern regions as follows; Lombardy (1,520 cases), Veneto (307 cases), and Emilia-Romagna (420 cases).
It has spread throughout the country, and only one region (Valle D’Aosta) out of the 20 regions is yet to report any case.
According to Reuters’ report, health authorities in Italy said on Tuesday that they might set up a new quarantine area (red-zone) to try and contain the outbreak.
Angelo Borrelli said no one was sure about the future evolution of the coronavirus. He added that this was an important week to understand what would happen. Angelo Borrelli is the head of the Civil Protection Agency.
Italy May Drag Europe into Recession
Italian authorities could declare a quarantine area around Bergamo city -northwest of Milan to try and curb the sharp rise in cases in the area.
So far, Italy’s government has set up red zones in Veneto and Lombardy – in which they have combined 11 towns quarantined. No one can leave.
They also have a yellow zone where free movement is allowed, but schools, sports venues, bars, and restaurants remain closed.
Italy’s health ministry has recommended that older people should stay at home and everyone else avoid crowded places with no handshaking. The recommendations apply throughout the country, not just the affected areas.
Hospitals in Italy, particularly those in the North, are overstretched. It will be more complicated if the epidemic spreads.
China is now reporting cases coming from Italy. The US is screening all travelers coming on direct flights from Italy and South Korea. Hungarian carrier Wizz Air is the latest airline to cut some flights to Italy from March 11.
There are widespread speculations that Italy’s economy will enter into recession because of the epidemic.
Italy is Europe’s third-largest economy and a problematic member of the single currency bloc even before becoming the region’s worst-hit outside China.
According to Giovanni Di Lieto, Italy will enter into recession and possibly drag down the rest of Europe. Countries suffering are those whose manufacturing supplies connect to Italy, such as France, Germany, Austria, and Balkan nations.
Giovanni Di Lieto is a lecturer at Australia’s Monash University.
Italy previously expected to grow by 0.5% in 2020.
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