Italy Covid second wave spreading ‘out of control’ as it ‘runs out of doctors’ after hundreds of struck down with virus

ITALY'S second wave is "out of control" as the country faces running out of doctors after hundreds of medics have been struck down by the coronavirus.

More than 30,000 new cases are now being reported daily in Italy – with figures more than six times higher than they were at the start of October.

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Hundreds are now also dying every day- creeping up from around 20 victims at the start of last month to now regularly exceeding 350

Massimo Galli, the head of the infectious diseases department at Milan's Sacco hospital, told RAI: "I am afraid there is no doubt that the situation is largely out of control.

"Other illnesses don't go on strike because Covid exists and we have to get organised… otherwise the pandemic will end up doing damage that goes beyond the already very sad number of deaths."

Mr Galli called for a new national "total lockdown" – a move backed by the national federation of medical associations – to beat the coronavirus.

Italian officials are now also calling for overseas doctors to be parachuted in to help fight the outbreak as the total case figure soars towards one million.

It is feared they do not have enough doctors to operate ventilators to cope with the second wave which is crashing across Europe.

Italy recorded 39,809 cases on November 7, 32,614 on November 8, and 25,271 on November 9, with 425, 331 and 356 daily deaths.

The same days in October saw 3,678, 4,458 and 5,272 cases, with 31, 22 and 28 deaths.

Alessandro Stecco, head of the regional health commission in Piedmont, led the appeal to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to send help, reports The Times.

He said: "We have a problem finding people to operate ventilators and we want to quickly bring in medics who are working for NGOs overseas to get us through our emergency as it peaks over the next two to three weeks."

Piedmont is set to hire six doctors and 28 nurses from China to help bulk up their numbers in a chilling echo of the early days of the pandemic.

He warned 300 or the region's 570 intensive care beds are already occupied by coronavirus patients and its "getting worse".

"What is dramatic is the 4,600 virus sufferers in regular wards, higher than the maximum of 4,000 in the spring, and that means more staff needed," he said.

Mr Stecco went on: "We hired 3,100 new doctors and nurses over summer but we are losing staff as they become infected.

"And we can’t hire staff from southern Italy because this time the south is as badly hit as we are."

Italy was the first European nation to suffer the full force of the virus, with daily death figures hitting highs of 921 in March.

Milan has become the centre of the new outbreak as hospitals are running out beds, temporary wards are being erected and the cancellations of non urgent procedures.

Chilling pictures reveal patients lying on stretchers in corridors while being given oxygen as wards across the country fill up.

It is feared as the cold weather rolls over Europe many nations could find the second outbreak even more vicious than the first wave.

Filippo Anelli, the president of the Italian order of doctors, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday: “Our worry is that this second wave won’t be a coastal storm, but a tsunami that could overwhelm the national health system."

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has imposed new restrictions, including a countrywide curfew from 10pm to 5am – with people only allowed to leave home for work or medical reasons.

Four regions have also seen tough new movement restricting measures in place, and masks remain mandatory both outside and indoors.

Italy is carved up into three zones of red, orange and green based on the severity of the reason.

Red zones see all non-essential businesses close, while orange zones have restaurants and bars closed but some services remaining open.

Schools also remain open nationwide, and public transport capacity has been slashed to avoid people being crammed together on trains and buses.

However, the virus continues to spread as pressure mounts for Italy to embrace a new national lockdown like has been imposed in Britain and France.

Italy is one of just seven countries in the world record more than 40,000 coronavirus deaths – along with the USA, Brazil, India, Mexico, Britain and France.

National discipline is now also reportedly flagging as many flout the rules amid fears of growing economic hardship – with riots and protests.

Italy has approved a new aid package to cushion the blow to the economy from the new restrictions.

The measures agreed by cabinet overnight are worth €2.9billion (£2.6billion), a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Coronavirus continues to surge across Europe, but there is a glimmer of hope as a vaccine breakthrough was made by American pharmaceutical giant Pfzier.

Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University, was hopeful it could mean that life may "return to normal by spring".

The immunologist, who is also a member of the Government's vaccine taskforce, said that other vaccines were now likely to become available in the near future.

He was speaking after Pfizer published interim findings which found their jab to be 90 per cent effective – something he described as "amazing".

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