Italian doctors’ association urges nationwide coronavirus lockdown


Italy needs a nationwide lockdown to contain its spiralling coronavirus pandemic, the head of the national doctors’ association (FNOMCeO), warned Sunday.

“The Order of Doctors is calling for a total lockdown across the country,” FNOMCeo wrote on its Facebook page, reporting what the association’s president, Filippo Anelli, told RAI public radio.

“Considering this week’s numbers as the trend, and if we project them [into the future] without any further increases, the situation in a month will be tragic,” Anelli said separately to ANSA news agency.

On Sunday, Italy reported 32,616 new infections, down from a record of nearly 40,000 on Saturday, but Sunday figures are usually lower due to reduced testing on weekends.

The total infections count climbed to 935,104, while 331 additional fatalities brought the overall death toll to 41,394. Intensive care patients have risen to 2,749, up 42 per cent in a week.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government has resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown, in a bid to limit the damage to the economy, and this week introduced a three-tier system of virus restrictions.

As of Friday, lockdowns were mandated in only four regions: Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta and Calabria. But more were expected to be added to the list soon.

Less stringent measures were applied to other regions, including a night-time curfew, the shuttering of museums and a switch to online lessons for high schools and universities.

South Tyrol, an autonomous German-speaking province near Austria, decided on its own to extend so-called “red zone” restrictions across its territory, from midnight to November 22.

People will not be allowed to leave home except for work or other justifiable reasons, and schools will close, except for children up to around the age of 11, the province said.

It previously seemed that Souty Tyrol would close all of its schools, as foreseen by previous “red zone” measures it applied to parts of the province. But there was no blanket extension of this measure.

In the rest of Italy, hospitals were said to be struggling in several regions. In Naples, queues of cars and ambulances formed outside emergency rooms unable to take in Covid-19 patients.

“The tragedy is that the health system is collapsing and people are dying or are not getting treated, despite the huge overall efforts of health workers,” Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris wrote on Facebook.

Declaring a “red zone” in Campania, the region encompassing Naples, is “perhaps” the only solution, given that it would also unlock economic aid from the government, he added.

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