All schools and childcare centres will close for a week as from tomorrow Friday 13th. This was announced a few minutes ago by Prime Minister Robert Abela. This includes the University of Malta, and the decision will be revised next week.

Abela said that everyone has to do their bit, and parents should use their leave to stay at home with their children. He also suggested to refrain from taking children to their grandparents; since children tend to be carriers and the elderly were more vulnerable.

Elderly people on the Pharmacy of Your Choice scheme will be supplied with two months worth of their medicines, Chris Fearne said.

Despite health authorities insisting on Thursday that only those who travelled to affected countries should not return to school, a number of private schools have already closed their doors.

Addressing the same press conference, education Minister Bonnici said that while absenteeism in schools was average on Monday, it shot up in state schools in the following days. He added that Malta was one of the few countries to shut down all education institutions.