Several European countries close schools, universities to contain coronavirus

There's growing pressure on the UK and Germany to follow suit particularly as the Italian authorities said their complete lockdown appeared to be controlling the situation.

FILE: A German police officer wearing a facemask controls drivers at the French and German border between the cities of Strasbourg and Kehl on 12 March 2020 as part of measures taken due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - France, Ireland, Austria, Turkey, Israel, and Norway are adding to the growing list of countries that are closing schools and universities in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

There's growing pressure on the UK and Germany to follow suit, particularly as the Italian authorities said their complete lockdown appeared to be controlling the situation.

French President Emmanuel Macron made a live television address on Thursday to announce France was becoming the latest country to shut educational establishments. He described the spread of the virus as the greatest health crisis France has known for a century.

Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned many families they would “lose loved ones before their time”.

Yet Johnson had so far refused to close schools, instead he encouraged people with a cough or high temperature to self-isolate for a week.

His advisors said as many as 10,000 people in the UK might already have caught the virus, which is 15 times the official number.

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