Coronavirus Outbreak Breaks With Routines Worldwide


ROME (AP) – Italy closed all schools and universities on Wednesday and prevented fans from attending sporting events in the coming weeks, while governments from different parts of the world trying to stop the spread of the new coronavirus resorted to radical measures that They transformed the way people work, buy, pray and have fun.

With confirmed cases of the virus in more than 80 countries, Saudi Arabia banned its citizens from making the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Iran canceled Friday prayers for the second week, and leader after leader begged his people to suspend the traditional symbol of mutual trust , the handshake.

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The Italian government decreed that football games and other sporting events be held without spectators until at least April 3. Italy is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe. More than 3,000 people are infected and at least 107 have died, the most in any country outside of China.

Italy also closed schools for 8.4 million students until March 15, after four other countries – Japan, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Iraq – adopted similar measures.

“I know it is a decision that has an impact. As Minister of Education, I obviously want my students to return to class as soon as possible, ”said Minister Lucia Azzolina.

With the COVID-19 disease decreasing at the site where it began, Italy, Iran and South Korea dealt with lethal fast-growing clusters of the virus that accounted for about 80% of new cases outside of China, according to the World Organization of health. In total, more than 94,000 people have been infected with the virus internationally, and there are more than 3,200 dead.

In the United States the death toll reached 11.

Iran reported 92 deaths among its more than 2,900 cases, although many fear the outbreak will be much larger. Among the sick are dozens of members of the government. The Islamic Republic canceled Friday prayers to avoid public gatherings.

WHO indicated that about 3.4% of people infected with the new coronavirus worldwide have died, making it more lethal than the common flu. But that figure was received with skepticism, when scientists pointed out that large numbers of milder cases have probably gone unnoticed or not reported.

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Hinnant reported in Paris. The Associated Press journalists Matt Sedensky in Bangkok; Kim Tong-Hyung and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea; Yanan Wang and Ken Moritsugu in Beijing; Aniruddha Ghosal in New Delhi; John Leicester in Paris, and Maria Cheng and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this office.

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The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Scientific Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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