Italian hospitals, care homes under fire for coronavirus failings

Rome – Hospitals and care homes in the northern Italian region of Lombardy are facing mounting criticism of their management of the coronavirus crisis, with prosecutors investigating in several cases.

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The coronavirus appears to have spread uncontrollably in a number of care homes in Lombardy, the epicentre of Italy’s outbreak, according to reports in the Italian media.

In one well-known geriatric ward near Milan alone, 110 people have died since March and a number of further cases have been concealed, according to newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The facility did not comment on the accusations.

The public prosecutor’s office in Milan has said it is investigating conditions in a number of care homes, while Lombardy’s Vice President Fabrizio Sala has said the region is establishing an independent commission to investigate the accusations.

In a separate case, the prosecutor said on Wednesday it was investigating claims against staff in a clinic in Alzano Lombardo near Bergamo, ANSA news agency reported.

The mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, said that coronavirus patients were not immediately recognised.

The regional chapter of the association of Italian doctors, FNOMCeO, meanwhile, has written an open letter to the regional government complaining of several critical mistakes in managing the crisis.

Only those presenting serious symptoms of coronavirus are currently being tested for the disease.

The doctors further complained of a lack of protective equipment for medical staff and a lack of clarity about the virus’ spread in care homes.

The Five Star Movement political party has criticised Lombardy’s decision to lighten the load on regional hospitals by sending COVID-19 patients into care homes.

“That (move) reveals the enormous moral irresponsibility of politics,” Italian MEP Eleonora Evi wrote on twitter.

More than 17,000 people have now died in Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country.


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