Coronavirus patients have been filmed laid out on hospital beds along the corridors of an Italian hospital in a chilling clip, while military trucks have been deployed to transport scores of victims’ coffins to be cremated.
Footage from one overcrowded Bergamo hospital showed patients lying on hospital beds which were lining the corridor of an intensive care unit.
Mail Online reports: “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.
“The crisis is underlining how health services in northern Italy have been overwhelmed by the pandemic, with doctors describing hospitals in crisis and many medics working from makeshift tents.
“The governor of Lombardy, the worst-affected region which includes Bergamo, said doctors and nurses in the region’s hospitals were at their limits.”
One cemetery director said: “I’m worried about the possibility they could succumb physically and psychologically because if they were to succumb, it would really be a disaster.”
Patients were seen lying on beds which are crammed into the corridor of the Intensive Care Unit at the San Marco di Zingonia Hospital in Bergamo.
“The video shows patients on ventilators in overcrowded rooms, showing how the crisis has overwhelmed even the high-quality health service in northern Italy,” the report said.
“Italian media says the hospital is handling a large number of urgent Covid-19 cases, and many patients are said to have serious breathing problems.
“Meanwhile, coffins of the deceased were whisked away on a fleet of army trucks last night after a cemetery in northern Italy was overwhelmed by the death toll.
“The column of army vehicles brought the dead out of Bergamo on Wednesday night in what Italians have called ‘one of the saddest photos in the history of our country’.
“The cemetery, like the hospital, in Bergamo can no longer cope with the mounting death toll in the city, where more than 4,300 people have been infected and at least 93 have died.
“Mortuaries are full and crematorium staff have been handling 24 bodies a day, including the regular drumbeat of non-virus deaths, meaning the bodies of virus victims have had to be dispatched to neighbouring provinces.
“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,” the report added.
“An army spokesman confirmed today that 15 trucks and 50 soldiers had been deployed to move bodies to neighbouring provinces.
“Italian media said there were around 70 coffins in the grim procession last night as the bodies were taken from the crematorium to the highway and out of Bergamo.
“Giacomo Angeloni, the local official in charge of cemeteries in Bergamo, said earlier this week that the crematorium was handling around 24 bodies a day, almost twice its normal maximum.
“Local authorities in Bergamo had appealed for help with cremations after being overwhelmed by the death toll.
“The pews of the crematorium church have been removed to leave space to lay out scores of coffins but more have been arriving every day.”
One Italian who saw the picture of a column of trucks said it was ‘one of the saddest photos in the history of our country’, while another said it was a ‘photo of war’.
“We are Italians and it is at times like these that we bring out the best in us. We will get out of it and we will do it for them too,” he said.
“Italy recorded a record 4,207 cases and 475 deaths yesterday, scuppering hopes that the quarantine was starting to stall the rate of infections.
“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.
“However, officials warn there is a lag time between the lockdown being imposed and its effects becoming noticeable in the figures.”
Companies were also barred from laying off workers and rents have been reduced under Italy’s economic survival plan.
The Prime Minister “hailed his €25billion (£23bn), 127-point programme as the ‘Italian model’ that the rest of Europe could adopt”.
“The government will also cover €100 bonuses for low-wage employees.
“Families are being issued €600 vouchers to cover the expense of having to hire baby sitters, with a shutdown of schools and kindergartens expected to last weeks.
“The self-employed who have to look after their children will receive ‘parental leave’ payments that cover half of their declared monthly incomes.
“Conte has shut down all forms of business except for pharmacies and grocery stores for two weeks starting on March 12.
“The government is compensating owners of closed shops by offering them tax credits to cover 60 per cent of their March rent payment.
“The self-employed and freelancers with home mortgages can ask to have their payments suspended for up to 18 months if they can prove that their incomes fell by a third.
“A variety of taxes and social service payments are being suspended for sectors and professions deemed most affected by the crisis.
“The government is also sending €20million to repair the damage caused to prisons by rioters who were anxious about the new disease.
“Italy’s sport federations get four-month tax privileges and 130 million euros will go to support cinemas and the movie industry.”
The PM also said today that the lockdown will be extended beyond the April 3 deadline.
“A top government minister hinted yesterday that the school closure could be extended well into next month, if not longer.
“Officials have said tougher measures could be needed because too many people are not respecting the order to stay at home unless necessary.
“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.