Millions out of school as WHO calls for stronger virus response

ROME (HRNW) – Almost 300 million students worldwide faced weeks at home with Italy and India the latest to shut schools over the deadly new coronavirus, as health officials on Thursday warned many countries were not doing enough to fight the outbreak.

As the number of cases rose above 97,000 worldwide with over 3,300 deaths in some 85 countries, the Paris marathon, Russia s main business forum and Italy s final match against England in the Six Nations Championship on March 14 were among the events cancelled or postponed.

The outbreak s rapid spread has prompted fears of a global economic downturn and rumbled global stock markets, with major European and US exchanges sinking again Thursday.

Most deaths and infections are still in China, where the virus first emerged late last year, prompting the country to quarantine entire cities, temporarily shut factories and close schools indefinitely.

But infections are now rising faster abroad than inside China, with South Korea, Iran and Italy emerging as hotspots.

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