Italian schools to close until March 15 amid coronavirus outbreak

Italy has ordered schools to close nationwide until March 15 in a bid to contain coronavirus.

Italy's education minister said the "prudent suspension" was taken after a careful analysis of how Cobid-19 was spreading.

Civil protection officials also said on Wednesday a total of 3,089 people have tested positive in Italy and 107 of them had died, the largest number of deaths outside of China.

A woman wears a mask as she walks in the Porta Nuova business district in Milan, Italy. Credit: AP

Italy’s education minister Lucia Azzolina announced the school suspensions, which start on Thursday, saying she hoped schools would be able to continue with lessons via distance learning.

Italy has seen its virus caseload explode since the first homegrown positive test was registered in northern Lombardy on February 19.

Strict measures had already been put into place in hard-hit regions affected by the outbreak in northern Italy, including Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna.

A woman wearing a mask attends a press preview of Raphael's exhibition in Rome. Credit: AP

Meanwhile in the UK the number of coronavirus cases has jumped in its largest day-to-day increase - with the majority of new cases relating travel from "recognised countries".

A total of 87 people in the UK have now been diagnosed with coronavirus, health officials has confirmed.

No one in the UK has died.

Worldwide, more than 93,000 people have been infected and over 3,100 have died, the vast majority in China

South Korea confirmed another 142 cases on Wednesday morning, raising its total to 5,328, the second-highest in the world.

In addition, in Iran, 23 members of the country's parliament and head of the emergency services were reported to have been infected.

Iran said the disease has killed 92 people, amid 2,922 confirmed cases, and Friday prayers were cancelled across all provincial capitals.