Coronavirus crisis: Italy’s hospitals on the BRINK as patients flood onto hospital floors

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On Saturday, Italy’s health ministry reported 39,811 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours the country’s highest daily tally. The total number of deaths related to the virus has reached over 41 thousand in the country.

In some hospitals in Italy, patients are reportedly on ventilators while lying on stretchers in corridors. Pictures have emerged of patients lying on floors, suggesting that places in the country appear to be running out of available beds.

Italy’s northern region of Lombardy continued to be the hardest hit area over the weekend as it reported 11,489 COVID-19 new cases on Saturday.

It’s neighbour, the Piedmont region, was the second-hardest hit area with 4,437 new infections reported on Saturday.

Italy has introduced a new three-tier framework with further nationwide restrictions in place.

Gyms, swimming pools, theatres and cinemas already closed in late October.

But for red zones, the areas with the highest level of infections, all bars, restaurants and most shops have to close.

The Lombardy region is a red zone and people can only leave their homes for work, health reasons or emergencies.

The country has approved a new aid package to help soften the impacts to the economy from the new restrictions introduced last week.

The new measures are reportedly worth €2.9 billion (£2.6 billion).

It increases transfers to businesses who are in the red or orange zones hit by the toughest restrictions.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Corriere della Sera daily: “We have increased compensations because we realised that what was granted for the spring lockdown wasn’t enough.

“We’ve also widened the number of beneficiaries.”

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The aid provides financial support for childcare or work leave for parents who are not able to work from home.

It came after Italy’s Government made teachers conduct classes online for high school students due to the pandemic.

Prime Minister Conte added that money had also been set aside for regions of Italy that could turn into red zones.

He said: “There’s no turning back. The alternative is to shut down the entire country causing enormous damage.

“It would not be a case of ‘a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved’, just disaster for everyone.”

The leaders of some Italian regions have criticised the country’s new tiered system for placing areas with the lowest rates of COVID-19 in high-risk zones.

The southern Italian region of Calabria was also placed into the partial lockdown in a red zone.

Nino Spirlì, the acting president of Calabria, said the new restrictions were unjustified.

He said: “This region does not deserve an isolation that will be fatal to it.”

The leaders of Lombardy, Piedmont and Aosta Valley, which have all be placed in partial lockdown, have demanded to know how their tier system was decided.

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