Morgues are full in Italy as coronavirus doctors ‘battle virus day and night’

Italy has been affected more severely by the coronavirus outbreak than any other European country. There are 12,462 confirmed cases in the country at time of writing.

The country’s healthcare system, rated by the World Health Organisation as the second best in the world, has been swamped by the sheer number of cases.

Doctors are reporting that death rates are increasing across the board, not just for coronavirus cases, because medical personnel are stretched so thin.

And now, in a chilling development, one Italian town has reported that not just its hospitals, but its mortuaries are full too.

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The Pope John and the Humanitas Gavazzeni Clinics in Bergamo, Lombardy, have run out of places to put the dead.

A local church, the Temple of Ognissanti, is being used as an emergency overflow morgue to store the unprecedented number of coffins.

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A Bergamo doctor, Daniele Macchini, wrote on Facebook: “The war has exploded and the battles are uninterrupted day and night. The cases are multiplying, we have a rate of 15-20 admissions per day all for the same reason.

“There are no more surgeons, urologists, orthopaedists — we are only doctors who suddenly become part of a single team to face this tsunami that has overwhelmed us.”

In nearby Zogno, the parish priest has ordered that death knell can only be rung once a day. Otherwise, he says the funeral peals would ring all day.

Bergamo's mayor, Giorgio Gori, tweeted: “It seems that the increase [in the number of cases] is slowing down, but it’s only because we have no longer beds in intensive care (few are added with great effort). Patients who cannot be treated are left to die”

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Massimo Galli, head of the department for infectious diseases at the Sacco Hospital in Milan, told the Financial Times that people who accuse Italy of over-reacting to the outbreak should come and see the unfolding crisis for themselves: “Some people still think that the measures in place are exaggerated. I would like to say to them to come and see what’s going on in our departments.”

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