Italy closes all schools, may ban public events

Italy has closed all schools and universities nationwide and is prepared to take even more drastic measures in a desperate attempt to stop Europe's worst coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Conte said on Wednesday (March 4) that his country's health system was at risk of being overwhelmed. Over a hundred have died and 3,000 infected.

But in addition to the school closings, a draft decree seen by Reuters, if enacted, would go further.

The government is prepared to effectively ban public events altogether -- movie theaters, sports, any event that doesn't allow people to keep at least one meter distance from each other.

The document, which is still under consideration, would also ask Italians to avoid physical contact such as hugging each other or shaking hands.

So far coronavirus has been mostly contained to the country's north, where many towns have been put into effective quarantine and daily life has been disrupted.

And, Italy's economy is suffering.

The tourism sector is especially hard hit. By one industry estimate it could lose 32 million customers between now and May.

Earlier this week Rome said it was considering a spending program to protect its shaky economy.