Italy on Wednesday closed all schools and universities until March 15 as the number of deaths from the new coronavirus in the Mediterranean country hit 107.
The measure is the most restrictive response to COVID-19 of any European nation and tougher than the closure of schools — but not universities — taken by fellow Group of Seven (G7) member Japan.
Italy reported 28 more deaths on Wednesday — the highest single day total to date. The nation of 60 million people has now recorded over 3,000 cases and only trails China in terms of total fatalities.
The government’s other measures included an unpopular month-long nationwide ban on fan attendance at football matches and other major sporting events.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti told the nation that Italy was able to handle the current number of cases but needed a firmer response to keep things from spiralling out of control.