Schools, universities to stay shut as coronavirus toll rises

Schools and universities will stay closed for a second consecutive week in three northern Italian regions in an effort to contain Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus, dashing any hopes of a swift return to normality, writes Crispian Balmer for Reuters.

The decision was taken as the death toll from the contagion rose by eight during the day to 29, while the total number of cases jumped by 240 to 1,128 – the vast majority in the wealthy regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

Looking to halt the spread of the highly infectious disease, the government banned public gatherings across much of northern Italy and shuttered educational centres. The virus is concentrated in just a few, relatively small areas and locals had hoped restrictions would ease elsewhere. However, government experts said all nurseries, schools and universities in the three worst-hit regions must remain closed until at least 8 March.
Full report on the Reuters site

Meanwhile, Rasha Faek for Al-Fanar Media writes that at least five countries in the Arab world – Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates – have called for the temporary suspension of all classes at schools and universities in an effort to halt the virus’s spread. A big concern for some of those countries is halting the further spread of the disease from neighbouring Iran, which, with more than 2,000 cases, has become one of the hardest-hit countries outside of China.
Full report on the Al-Fanar Media site

In Armenia, Armen Press reports that shortly after the first novel coronavirus case was confirmed in Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that all educational institutions, including schools, universities and kindergartens, would be shut down for a week in an effort to prevent a possible outbreak.
Full report on the Armen Press site

In Azerbaijan, all schools and universities have been closed from 3-9 March in an attempt to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus. The suspension followed a cabinet decision, reports Trend.
Full report on the Trend site

In Ireland, it was reported by Carl O’Brien and Jack Power for The Irish Times that universities are drawing up contingency plans which include delivering classes to students online, and conducting exams over the internet in response to the coronavirus threat.
Full report on The Irish Times site