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Monday, March 23, 2020

More Than 2,600 Medical Workers Infected With Coronavirus In Italy

Italian Doctor

Five more Italian doctors have died from coronavirus, bringing the death doll among medics in the country to 13 as it was revealed 2,629 health workers have been infected.

Initially three new fatalities were named as Luigi Ablondi, former general manager of Crema hospital, Giuseppe Finzi, a hospital doctor in Cremona and a general practitioner in Bergamo called Antonino Buttafuoco.

Then later today it emerged another two medical workers had passed away from the illness, the Italian national federation of doctors guilds said.

More than 2,600 medical workers have been infected with coronavirus in Italy - 8.3 per cent of the country's total cases, it emerged last night, as the government extended lockdown measures beyond the start of April today.

There has been growing concerns about the safety of front-line medical staff who come into regular contact with infected patients.

Dr Buttafuoco, who tested positive for the virus, was unable to overcome the symptoms of the disease and passed away yesterday at the age of 66.

Dr Giuseppe Finzi, 62, worked at University Hospital of Parma and had previously run for mayor of Soragna, local media report.

Dr Luigi Ablondi died at the Cremasco hospital, which he had run for 11 years, on Monday at the age of 66, according to Il Nuovo Torrazzo.

It was also announced that pneumologist at Sant'Anna hospital in Como, Giuseppe Lanati, and GP Luigi Frusciante, who was a GP in Sagnino, had died on Sunday.

Both Lanati, 73, and Frusciante, 71, had come out of retirement to help their community during the coronavirus crisis, which had hit Italy harder than any other country outside China.

Previously doctors Raffaele Giura and Franco Galli also died of coronavirus, local media reported last week.

The latest figures on infected healthcare workers were released by a health foundation which said the 'huge number' of infected medics showed that procedures and protection equipment for doctors were 'still inadequate'.

The problem is far worse than in China, because '8.3 per cent is more than double the percentage of the Chinese cohort', the Gimbe foundation's president Nino Cartabellotta told Italian media.

According to the figures, which are drawn from official data, the number of infected medics has risen by more than 1,500 just in the last eight days.

The figure of 2,629 infected medical professionals means that nearly 0.3 per cent of Italy's health workers have caught the disease - taking them out of service when they are desperately needed.

'No more talking: adequately protect those who must protect us,' Cartabellotta urged last night.

It came as Italy recorded a record 4,207 infections and 475 new deaths from the virus yesterday, squashing hopes that the unprecedented national lockdown was beginning to slow the spread of the pathogen.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte has now warned that quarantine measures 'must be extended beyond their original deadline'. Some had initially been due to expire as early as next Wednesday.

Italian Covid-19



Coronavirus patient

Italy's 475 new deaths are the largest number that any country, even China, has reported in a single day since the outbreak began late last year.

The previous record high of 368 deaths was also recorded in Italy, on Sunday.

The mounting death toll forced the army to intervene in the city of Bergamo yesterday to transport dozens of coffins out of the city.

The local crematorium has been overwhelmed by the crisis with staff handling 24 bodies a day, twice the usual maximum.

Italy's new surge in cases, which takes the total to 35,713, puts an end to four days of stalling infection numbers and dampens hopes that the quarantine is working.

Italians have been ordered to stay indoors, with schools and universities shut, shops closed except for grocery stores and pharmacies, and heavy restrictions on travel.

However, officials warn there is a lag time between the lockdown being imposed and its effects becoming noticeable in the figures.

Coronavirus Patient


Corona Virus patient

'The main thing is, do not give up,' Italian National Institute of Health chief Silvio Brusaferro said in a nationally televised press conference.

'It will take a few days before we see the benefits' of containment measures, said Brusaferro.

'We must maintain these measures to see their effect, and above all to protect the most vulnerable.'

Imposed nationally on March 12, the shutdown of most Italian businesses and a ban on public gatherings were initially due to expire on March 25 with schools shut until April 3.

But prime minister Giuseppe Conte said today that the lockdown will be extended beyond the April 3 deadline.

'The measures we have taken... must be extended beyond their original deadline,' Conte told Thursday's edition of the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

A top government minister hinted yesterday that the school closure could be extended well into next month, if not longer.

Coronavirus corpse

Italy's National Research Council (CNR) expects a 'significant reduction' in the growth rate of new infections in the Lombardy region around Milan by next Tuesday or Wednesday.

The northern region of around 10million people has been at the epicentre of the crisis since the start, reporting two thirds of all the deaths in the nation of 60 million.

It has been under lockdown since March 8.

Noting that infections are starting to rise in the south, where many Italians moved after the start of containment measures in the north, the CNR predicts that figures across Italy will only stabilise between March 25 and April 15.

There have been fears that the health system of the poorer south would be entirely unable to cope with an outbreak on the scale which the north has suffered.

The rates within Italy itself remained stable yesterday, with two-thirds of the deaths - 1,959 in all - reported in the northern Lombardy region around Milan, the Italian financial and fashion capital.

The neighbouring Emilia-Romagna region of Bologna has suffered a total of 458 fatalities, and Turin's Piedmont region has had 154 deaths.

Rome's Lazio region has a toll of 32 deaths and 724 infections.

Doctors on the front line of Italy's coronavirus outbreak have described 'catastrophic' scenes in hospitals which are creaking with the sheer volume of cases.

Some patients have been lying face-down on their hospital beds, which researchers believe can raise survival rates in intensive care by improving oxygen levels in the blood.

A new Oxford University study has suggested that Italy may be particularly vulnerable because it has such an old population and the elderly come into frequent contact with the young.

Italy's population is the second-oldest in the world, behind only Japan.

Oxford researchers said it was common for young adults in rural areas to live with their parents and grandparents but to commute into cities, such as Milan, to work and socialise.

Young people may have been picking up the virus while travelling and brought it home without realising they were ill, the Oxford researchers said.

The study is a warning to Britain, which has an ageing population. Older people are known to be more likely to die of Covid-19 if they are infected with the virus.

Italian Doctor coronavirus

Italy is also rushing 10,000 student doctors into service, scrapping their final exams, in an effort to help the struggling health service cope with the coronavirus.

University Minister Gaetano Manfredi said the government would let this year's medicine graduates start work some eight or nine months ahead of schedule and waive the mandatory exams they normally sit before qualifying.

'This means immediately releasing into the National Health System the energy of about 10,000 doctors, which is fundamental to dealing with the shortage that our country is suffering,' he said in a statement.

The graduates will be sent to work in general practitioners' clinics and at old peoples' homes, freeing up more experienced colleagues who will be sent to the rapidly filling hospitals.

Over three weeks, 1,135 people have needed intensive care in Lombardy, the northern region hardest hit.

The region has only 800 intensive care beds, according to Giacomo Grasselli, head of the intensive care unit at Milan's Policlinico hospital.

Authorities have been working to set up hundreds of intensive care beds in a specially created facility in the Fiera Milano exhibition center, but are still waiting for sufficient respirators and qualified personnel.

[By Dailymail]

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