Italy on Wednesday closed all schools and universities until Mar 15 as the number of deaths from the new coronavirus in the Mediterranean country hit 107.
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.
Italy has borne the brunt in Europe of a disease that is now spreading across the world faster than it is in China where it was 1st detected late last year.
The problem for the Italian government is that existing restrictions – including quarantine of 11 towns with 50,000 people – have failed to stop the outbreak.
But 21 of the 22 regions have now had cases and infections are slowly reaching Italy’s less wealthy and developed south.