Italy is set to close schools across the country in an apparent effort to tamp down the spread of coronavirus.
What are the details?
According to a Wednesday Bloomberg report, Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said that a decision on the matter is forthcoming.
“We have asked for an opinion from the scientific committee on whether schools should be left open or closed," Azzolina told reporters in Rome.
The outlet noted that Italian media, such as Ansa and la Repubblica, reported that school shutdowns would begin on Thursday and last until mid-March.
During a Tuesday news conference, Angelo Borrelli, head of the country's Civil Protection Agency, said, "None of us can be sure about the future evolution of the disease. This is an important week to understand what will happen."
Fabrizio Pregliasco, virologist at Milan University, added, "The virus is severely testing our health facilities and we need to limit children getting together. Closing schools is a necessary measure because it will help limit the spread."
The New York Post reported that 2,502 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Italy as of Wednesday. At least 79 people in Italy have died as of Tuesday, up from 52 on Monday.
Japan announced this week its plans to close schools until further notice.
Beginning Thursday, schools will be closed until further notice. The Japanese school year ends in March.
About 12.8 million students at 34,800 schools nationwide will be impacted by the countrywide closures.