Covid-19: Italy's hospitals close to collapse say doctors and nurses

Doctors and nurses highlight "dramatic" situation in Italy's hospitals.

Italy's hospitals are close to breaking point due to the number of covid-19 patients they are facing, according to the national association of internal medicine doctors, internal medicine nurses and geriatricians.

The medics raised the alarm in an open letter published today, 11 November, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The hospitals are "by now close to collapse, due to the shortage of staff and the lack of beds in the face of an abnormal influx of patients due to the rapid and dizzying spread of covid infection," read the letter.

The letter said that there should not be any messages "downplaying the situation" in hospitals which they describe as "dramatic," reports state broadcaster RAI.

The doctors and nurses said that "both in our wards and in other wards quickly converted into covid-19 units, we take care of more than 70 per cent of hospitalised covid patients, guaranteeing all treatment, including oxygen therapy and ventilation, and we feel the duty to raise awareness on the real situation we face every day in hospitals."

In recent days the national federation of doctors' guilds FNOMCEO called for a nationwide lockdown, in light of the numbers of people being admitted to hospital and intensive care due to covid-19.

This was followed yesterday by a call from the Italian federation of general practitioners (FIMMG) for the entire country to come under red zone restrictions.

Last week Italy introduced a three-tier system, based on a colour code according to the intensity of the epidemic, dividing the country into red (high-risk), orange (medium risk) and yellow (lower risk) zones, with "soft lockdowns" applying in the red zones.

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte said in an interview today with Italian daily newspaper La Stampa that his government's goal is to avert a "total lockdown."

On 11 November Italy registered 32,961 new cases of covid-19 over the last 24 hours, up from 35,098 yesterday, according to data released by the Italian health ministry this evening.

There were 623 new coronavirus-related deaths, up from 580 fatalities yesterday, in what is the highest daily toll since 6 April when Italy was in full lockdown.

For official data relating to the covid-19 situation in Italy see the health ministry website.

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