Italy closes schools and universities until March 15 because of coronavirus

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ROME, March 4 (Reuters) - All Italian schools and universities will close from Thursday until March 15 as part of an effort to contain a growing outbreak of coronavirus, Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said on Wednesday.

"I hope pupils can return to school as soon as possible... my commitment is to ensure that the essential public service, albeit from a distance, is provided to all our students," Azzolina said speaking alongside Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

The death toll from coronavirus in Italy jumped by 28 over the past 24 hours to 107, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, while the accumulative number of cases totalled almost 3,090, up from 2,502 on Tuesday.

Conte said the government was doing all it could to contain the virus, adding that the health service risk being overwhelmed due to the high number of infected people. (Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Wiring by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer)