Italy coronavirus horrors: 368 deaths in 24 hours, hospitals face crises, a funeral every 30 minutes

Amidst a total lockdown, Italy recorded 368 deaths within 24 hours, the highest-ever since the coronavirus breakout in the country. It shattered its previous record of 250 deaths in a single day recorded last week.

Coronavirus status as of 15 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 15 March, 2020 GISAID

With its deadliest Sunday, the total number of deaths in the worst-hit part of Europe has risen to 1,809. Italy also recorded a massive jump in confirmed cases with over 3,500 nationals testing positive for the fatal virus within a day. The total confirmed cases stand at 24,747 now.

Hospitals face shortage of beds, medical equipment

According to The Local, Italian health authorities are expecting the number of coronavirus cases to increase in the days to come. Italy's Lombardy region continues to remain the worst-hit area with 1,218 COVID-19 deaths. Speaking to Sky TG24, Attilio Fontana, Lombardy's regional governor, revealed that the conditions are getting worse. "We are close to the point where we will no longer be able to resuscitate people because we will be out of intensive care unit beds," he said.

Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants
3.2 Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: Italy OECD Health Statistics: Health care resources

"We need those machines (doctors) use to ventilate lungs, artificial respirators that unfortunately we cannot find. As soon as those respirators arrive from abroad, we will be ready to go on the attack," added Fontana. The Local cited Lombardy welfare councillor Giulio as saying that "there are no more ambulances" in areas around Milan.

Urging residents to impose self-quarantine, Veneto's Governor Luca Zaia asked everyone to remain in isolation so as to "avoid putting hospitals under further strain". "If you do not follow the rules, the health system will crash and I will have to impose a curfew," he said.

Bergamo sees a funeral every 30 minutes

The obituary section in newspapers has gone from one to 20 pages within a week as coronavirus has devastated Bergamo, a town in Lombardy, which is now undertaking a funeral every half an hour.

According to the Daily Mail, the town has reported 146 coronavirus deaths within a week. Stating that there is a burial every 30 minutes, the councillor in charge of cemeteries in Bergamo, Giacomo Angeloni, said: "We are facing an emergency there is no doubting that. We are having a burial every half an hour. We had 18 on Saturday, 44 over Sunday and Monday, 33 on Tuesday and 51 on Wednesday. We've had to close Bergamo cemetery for the time being to cope.

We are using churches as temporary mortuaries. I have to thank my staff for what they are doing in the face of this tragedy. Certainly, we never imagined having to deal with an emergency on this level."

Italy reported the first case of COVID-19 in late January, and since then it has seen a spurt in cases making it the worst-hit country after China, the epicentre of the virus.

Related topics : Coronavirus