Citing the decision of the Italian government to lock down the entire country amid a severe outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Sassoli said in a statement that "this has important consequences for the behaviour of Italian MEPs."
"For this reason, I have decided after having been in Italy over the last weekend, as a precaution, to follow the indicated measures and to exercise my function as President from my home in Brussels in compliance with the 14 days indicated by the health protocol," he said.
According to Sassoli, the parliament strives to ensure that its internal bodies, as well as legislative and budgetary functions, continue working despite the deadly outbreak.
Italy, with over 9,000 confirmed cases and 463 fatalities, has become a hotbed for the coronavirus. The country has been on a complete lockdown since Monday, and many others have temporarily suspended Italian arrivals. France, Germany and Spain are the next three most affected European countries.
In a separate development, an external trainer who gave classes to European Parliament staffers in Brussels has tested positive for the coronavirus disease, an internal communications email circulating in the parliament Tuesday and seen by the EURACTIV news website revealed.
The trainer reportedly shortened the plenary session to two days and moved it to the Belgian capital from virus-hit France, according to the EURACTIV.