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Italy confirms plan to shut schools as death toll passes 100 & number of infected jumps to over 3,000

Italy confirms plan to shut schools as death toll passes 100 & number of infected jumps to over 3,000
The Italian government has raised the country’s death toll from Covid-19 passed 100 and confirmed that it is shutting all schools, universities and academic institutions to help prevent the spread of the illness.

Minister for Education Lucia Azzolina confirmed that schools across Italy will remain closed from Thursday March 5 until March 15, at the earliest, as a precautionary measure to help stem the tide of infection. 

At the same press conference, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned that the country's health system is at risk of being overwhelmed by the coronavirus outbreak. Conte added that mismanagement of 'security protocols' at one hospital in northern Italy has greatly exacerbated the spread of the virus.

Health officials updated the death toll to 107, an increase of 28, at the briefing on Wednesday afternoon. The number of people infected with the virus was moved up to 3,090, a jump of over 500 cases. 

"I hope pupils can return to school as soon as possible... my commitment is to ensure that the essential public service, albeit from a distance, is provided to all our students," Azzolina said after announcing the new measure.

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A plan to increase the number of intensive care beds by 50 percent was also revealed on Wednesday.  

Italy is now the hardest-hit nation outside of China, the original source of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Some 276 people, who were infected when the virus initially spread in Italy 13 days ago, have now fully recovered.

Wednesday proved to be a dramatic day across Europe with Germany labelling the coronavirus outbreak a “global pandemic” and European Union officials in Brussels testing positive for the disease. 

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