Italian’s coronavirus warning to the world as he urges ‘don’t do what we did’

Italian’s coronavirus warning to the world as he urges ‘don’t do what we did’


A dad living on lockdown in coronavirus-ravaged Italy has pleaded with other countries to take the pandemic seriously.

Mattia Ferraresi, a writer for the Italian newspaper Il Foglio, has starkly described how the virus has pushed the country's medics to the brink of collapse.

He says that just last week, the European country had a well-funded healthcare system that would never turn anyone away from hospital.

But now, with intensive care units stretched to their full capacity, doctors are being forced to make impossible decisions over who to treat.

Saying the situation is now 'just like in wartime', the journalist has described how overwhelmed hospitals are being forced to put up tents as makeshift wards.

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Meanwhile cargo containers are being used to triage surging numbers of patients.

Some ill patients unable to access medical treatment are even dying in their homes.

"In a matter of days, the system was being felled by a virus that I, and many other Italians, had failed to take seriously," he writes in the Boston Globe.

With 1,266 people known to have died of the flu-like virus in Italy as of Friday night, it has the second highest death toll in the world after China, where the pandemic originated.

It is also the European country hardest-hit by the outbreak, with more than 21,000 confirmed cases.

As of last weekend, millions of Italian have been in quarantine following drastic new measures announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

And on Wednesday, shops were ordered to shut at all times, apart from pharmacies, food stores, and newsstands.

Schools and universities have been closed since March 4, and all non-essential jobs have also been temporarily stopped.

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Anyone who breaches the lockdown faces up to three months in jail and a fine.

Data scientists have said that the epidemic in Italy is 10 days ahead of Spain, Germany and France, and 13 to 16 days ahead of the UK and the US.

But the writer – who has been working from home – says the situation could have been avoided if more drastic action had been taken sooner and that 'it didn't have to come to this'.

He continued: "The way to avoid or mitigate all this in the United States and elsewhere is to do something similar to what Italy, Denmark, and Finland are doing now, but without wasting the few, messy weeks in which we thought a few local lockdowns, canceling public gatherings, and warmly encouraging working from home would be enough stop the spread of the virus.

"We now know that wasn’t nearly enough."


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