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Army closes schools, activity centers in Vicenza to guard against coronavirus

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 23, 2020

All dependent schools and activity centers in the Vicenza military community will close Monday through Wednesday, the Army announced, as Italy scrambles to respond to the spread of the coronavirus.

An Army statement said Sunday that the temporary closings, which affect fitness centers, theaters and chapels, were a precautionary measure and that so far there have been no confirmed cases within Vicenza and the military communities at Darby and Ghedi.

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However, Italian authorities are alarmed by the spread of the virus, especially in northern Italy, since a Chinese tourist couple was diagnosed this month in Rome.

Since then, Italy has recorded 152 confirmed cases, the largest number outside Asia, according to The Associated Press.

In its statement, the Army recommended that personnel in the Vicenza area stay close to home, minimize interactions with crowds including restaurants, malls and theaters, and wash hands frequently with warm water and soap.

Military community members were directed to limit non-essential travel within the Commune di Vo’ Euganeo and the Lombardy region of northern Italy, the epicenter of the disease.

Anyone experiencing a cough or a fever of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenhieit, has come in contact with a confirmed case or has traveled to China should avoid the hospital but call 118 and remain at home.

In response to the outbreak, the Italian government called off the Venice Carnival, scrapped major soccer matches and shuttered theaters in the disease-affected areas.

On Sunday night, Austria stopped all train traffic to and from Italy after two passengers aboard a train were discovered with fever at the Brenner border crossing.

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