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Coronavirus scare paralyzes Milan and its Jewish community

(JTA) — The institutions of the Jewish community of Milan are in lockdown, along with other faith communities and others, following the discovery of coronavirus cases in the Italian city.

“Schools are out, including ours,” Claudia Bagnarelli, a founder of Milan’s Jewish school, which has 500 students, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “There are no synagogue services, no activities.”

Authorities in Italy announced closures across the country’s north in an effort to contain Europe’s largest outbreak of the coronavirus. More than 130 cases — two in Milan — and three deaths have been confirmed in Italy.

In Milan, the home of several thousand Jews, schools, many offices and restaurants have shut down and commerce has ground to a halt as employees stayed home in what the government has called a mandatory curfew.

“The only place where people go is to the supermarkets, some of which are already empty because people are stocking up for a long time,” Bagnarelli said.

If the closure continues, the community will “have to send food to elderly people’s homes,” she added.

“It seems like excessive measures, but I suppose they’re meant to stop the spread of the virus,” Bagnarelli said.

The virus, first observed in China earlier this year, has spread to 28 countries, with over 76,000 infected, according to Forbes. The death rate of the coronavirus is 2.8% in males and 1.7% death rate in females, according to an analysis of cases prepared by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.