Italy to ban public events to contain coronavirus - draft decree

At the moment only schools in the northern regions most affected by the epidemic are closed.

Tourists wearing protective masks travel on a gondola in Venice, Italy, February 7, 2020.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Tourists wearing protective masks travel on a gondola in Venice, Italy, February 7, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Italy's government is set to close cinemas and theaters and ban public events across the whole country to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak, according to a draft decree drawn up on Wednesday.
The decree seen by Reuters orders "the suspension of events of any nature... that entail the concentration of people and do not allow for a safety distance of at least one meter (yard) to be respected."
The draft decree also tells Italians to avoid hugging and shaking hands to prevent as much as possible a further spread of the potentially deadly illness which has been mainly concentrated in the country's northern regions.
The government decided to close schools and universities across the country until mid-March in a further attempt to contain the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe, Ansa news agency reported on Wednesday.
The government shuttered schools and universities in the worst-affected regions in northern Italy some 10 days ago and quarantined a handful of towns at the epicenter of the outbreak. However, the contagion has spread, with at least 79 people dying and more than 2,500 infected.
Coronavirus was confirmed in an Israeli who was vacationing in Italy and returned last week.
With an emergency decree passed at a meeting in the headquarters of Italy's civil protection agency, the government adopted special powers to be able to stop people from leaving or entering the affected areas.