Patients ‘often die on their own’
The disease has taken the greatest toll on Italy’s elderly population. Figures released Thursday by the Health Institute of Italy indicated that 86% of fatalities were among those aged over 70. People aged 60 to 69 made up a further 10% of the deaths.
Paolucci said his hospital was trying to help patients keep in touch with their family by phone, particularly the elderly who were less used to making calls.
“The greatest problem which is emerging in these days, I would say, is that the patients cannot be visited by their relatives and often die on their own,” he said.
Footage from Reuters showed army trucks collecting the bodies of coronavirus victims overnight in Lombardy.
The Prime Minister’s office said a taskforce of up to 300 additional volunteer doctors would be sent to the areas of Italy worst affected by the pandemic.
This year’s medical school graduates have also been told they can start working as fully qualified doctors
immediately, months ahead of schedule, as Italy’s authorities grapple with the crisis.
‘I don’t know what everyone is thinking’
Meanwhile, the Chinese Red Cross vice president, Sun Shuopeng, urged tougher measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The situation “is similar to what we experienced two months ago in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of Covid-19,” he said Thursday at a news conference in Milan.
“In the city of Wuhan after one month since the adoption of the lockdown policy, we see a decreasing trend from the peak of the disease,” Sun Shuopeng said. “Here in Milan, the hardest-hit area by Covid-19, there isn’t a very strict lockdown: public transportation is still working and people are still moving around, you’re still having dinners and parties in the hotels and you’re not wearing masks.”
“I don’t know what everyone is thinking.”
He advised Italians to stop all “economic activities and cut the mobility of people,” calling on everyone to just stay at home. “We need every citizen to be involved in the fight of Covid-19 and follow this policy.”
Italian authorities are considering lengthening school closures beyond April 3, amid rumors of the nationwide lockdown, affecting more than 60 million people, also being extended.
“I think we are going toward an extension,” Italian Education minister Lucia Azzolina said Thursday, adding that schools would reopen once there is “certainty of absolute safety.”
Corriere della Sera quoted Italian PM Giuseppe Conte as saying Thursday that “it is clear” the measures to tackle the outbreak, “both the one that has closed a lot of the country’s businesses and individual activities, and the one that concerns the school, can only be extended to the deadline.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson told CNN no official decision had yet been taken.
Two convents in Rome have been placed into lockdown after reports of a high number of coronavirus cases, a notice from the Lazio region health assessor Alessio D’Amato said Friday.