Italy is set to close all schools and universities and ban public gatherings in the country in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
News agencies reported on Wednesday that the move had received approval from Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at a cabinet meeting.
Learning institutions in the worst affected regions of northern Italy, where some towns have been quarantined, had already closed more than a week ago.
Italy is the worst affected European country, having more than 2,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Some 79 people have died since the first patient tested positive on February 19.
The ban on public gatherings will affect cinemas and theatres, among other public events across the country.
Italy has also seen its top football games affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Italian Cup semi-finals between Juventus and AC Milan and Napoli and Inter Milan have been postponed.