The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Italy has increased by 196 to 827 in the last 24 hours because an Italian top physician said intensive care units should set an age limit on beds.
Instead of allowing ‘first come first served’ patients, hospitals should switch to ‘catastrophic medicine’ guidelines – mostly used in war zones and during natural disasters – where those with the greatest chance of survival are given priority.
The guidelines should apply to all patients in need of intensive care and not just to those suffering from coronavrius, according to the guidelines published this week by the Society of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SAARI).
If a bed limit is implemented, this may mean that elderly patients without signs of coronavirus are released from IC departments to make room for younger patients who have to live longer.
It comes as an increase in cases of 31 percent were reported today by the Civil Protection Agency, the largest increase in the absolute number since the infection came to light on February 21.
The total number of cases in Italy, the European country most affected by the virus, has risen to 12,462 compared to a previous 10,149, an increase of 22.8 percent.
A coronavirus emergency checkpoint and triage point at the Civile Hospital in Brescia, Italy
Intensive care units should stop treating older patients and patients with multiple conditions and instead focus on those who live longer and have better chances of survival if beds run out of coronavirus, Italian doctors have said (photo, an IC department in Cremona )
Hospitals may have to stop admitting people based on “who comes first, served first”, doctors say, and instead treat people with the best chances of survival (photo, an emergency war in Brescia, Italy)
However, the agency said about 600 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday, but were not reported until Wednesday.
The head of the office said that of those originally infected, 1,045 had fully recovered compared to 1,004 the day before. About 1,028 people were in intensive care against an earlier 877.
Italy announced 200 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday in the largest daily increase to date, as infections reach more than 12,000.
Doctors have warned that the UK and the US are about two weeks away from the same scenario.
The whole of Italy has since been imprisoned, with doctors in severely affected regions who say they are struggling with a huge peak in patients.
In a booklet about coronavirus published on Friday, SAARI gives its recommendations for a worst-case scenario.
Although every effort must be made to ensure that everyone receives care, doctors say that it is likely that several hospitals will “exceed their limits” within the next few weeks.
About 10 percent of cases of coronavirus in Italy have so far developed serious complications, they note, which require extensive treatment with fans that are scarce.
In the event that they run out, SAARI says: ‘It may be necessary to set an age limit for admission to intensive care.
The guidelines should apply to all patients and not just those who suffer from coronavirus, doctors said (pictured, paramedics in a medical emergency tent in Cremona)
Coronavirus has flown through Europe following a major outbreak in Italy and is now one of the worst affected regions outside of China
Residents wearing a protective mask are waiting to do their shopping outside of a supermarket in Codogno, southeast of Milan
“This is not a value judgment, but a way to offer extremely scarce resources to those who have the greatest chance of survival and can enjoy the largest number of saved years of life.”
Doctors should also consider the many other conditions that patients suffer when deciding whether they deserve access to intensive care, doctors say, and not just base their judgment on age.
They warn that this will lead to an increase in the number of deaths from people who are not directly affected by the virus, but who can no longer be treated.
The directives have not yet been adopted, but offer a blueprint of what Italy could do if the situation continues to get out of hand.
On Tuesday, the coronavirus World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic after the number of patients affected by the killer exceeded 112,000 worldwide and the death toll was nearly 4,500.
The head of the UN agency said it was “deeply concerned about the alarming levels of spread and seriousness,” while outbreaks continued to get out of hand.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom also warned that failure to act by governments around the world has fueled the crisis, and added, “We have called on countries every day to take urgent and aggressive action.”
Markings on the floor indicate the safety distance between people on a market stall as part of control measures against the spread of corona virus
Residents walk down a deserted street in Codogno, southeast of Milan, after the whole of Italy was locked to stop the corona virus from spreading
The Grand Canal in Venice is almost deserted after vacationers were told to leave Italy immediately and travel between cities is forbidden
In a desperate call for action to control the escalating crisis, he said: “We are in this together, doing the right things with calmness and protecting world citizens. It’s doable.’
A pandemic is defined as the uncontrolled spread of a new disease worldwide – the last crisis to get the official label was the outbreak of swine flu in 2009, in which hundreds of thousands of people died.
More than 112,000 people worldwide are now infected with the corona virus, which can cause pneumonia and close off crucial internal organs. The crisis in China, where the outbreak began, has slowed dramatically.
Europe is now the center of the crisis, the number of cases is increasing every day in Italy – where all 60 million inhabitants have been hit by an unprecedented blockade. Outbreaks are also growing in Spain, France, Germany and the UK.
Britons have been told to leave Italy and go home, while the country is closing everything down in a drastic attempt to stop an outbreak of coronavirus.
The nation is struggling with the worst epidemic in the world outside of China and more than 10,000 people have now contracted the infection there. 631 died.
The British Foreign Ministry today urged British citizens to fly home, while the Italian government encourages tourists to leave and airlines cancel flights.
A worker today pushed a cart into the hospital in Codogno, southeast of Milan, a day after Italy imposed unprecedented national restrictions on its 60 million people
Deputy Maria Teresa Baldini of Rome wears a protective mask and gloves in parliament while helping to tackle the effects of the corona virus
In a statement officials said: “The Italian authorities have advised not to travel for tourism purposes throughout Italy, and that tourists who are already on holiday in Italy should end their journey, unless necessary, to return to the place where they live.’
Airline tickets from Italy are quickly becoming popular after British Airways, Easyjet, Jet2 and WizzAir have canceled all their routes between Italy and the UK.
Ryanair normally flies until Saturday, when it stops for almost a month, and Easyjet said it would perform “rescue flights” in the coming days.
A Hertfordshire couple spent £ 600 in their desperate attempt to get out of the country, driving through the night from Milan to Turin to guarantee a seat in London.
Others who returned in the last 24 hours said that the situation was not nearly as bad as they left and many now have two weeks of isolation at home in case they have contracted the corona virus.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry said today: “British nationals can leave Italy without restriction.
“Airports remain open throughout Italy. However, the Italian authorities advised not to travel for tourism purposes throughout Italy, and that tourists who are already on holiday in Italy should end their journey, unless necessary, to return to the place where they live.
‘Aviation schedules can be changed and some flights can be canceled.
“We therefore advise all remaining British tourists in Italy to contact their airlines to return to the UK as quickly as possible.”