Italy is embarking on the first day of its shutdown of all schools and universities after emergency measures were implemented due to the coronavirus outbreak, BBC reports.
Cinemas, theatres and museums are also closed across the country while its Serie A football league will be played in empty stadiums.
More than 3,000 people have been infected, making it the worst-hit country on the continent.
Schools and universities will be shuttered until at least 15 March, according to Education Minister Lucia Azzolina.
Reactions to the school closures have been mixed.
“I hoped for this decree because I feared an outbreak at school,” Massimiliano Del Ninno, father of a Rome primary school student, told Reuters news agency.
Clarissa Mazzei, a 30-year-old mother of three, called it “tragic… for the students, and also for the parents.”