About 7,923 doctors have responded to the Italian government’s ‘extraordinary appeal’ and volunteered to support embattled hospitals in the worst-hit regions of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna amid the COVID-19 virus crisis, The Local reported on Monday (23 March).
Earlier on 21 March, Italian premier Giuseppe Conte in his Facebook stated that the government has launched an ‘extraordinary appeal’ to create a task force of 300 doctors to operate in regional healthcare facilities and support the frontliners against the COVID-19 virus pandemic, Wanted In Milan reported.
Mr Conte said the appeal was launched by the hospitals in region and provinces that were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, “where doctors, nurses, and volunteers are working tirelessly in difficult conditions to assist the sick”.
He indicated the appeal was a response to the “cry of alarm”.
Following that, Italy’s Minister for Regional Affairs, Francesco Boccia said on Monday that a staggering 7,923 doctors have volunteered, and hailed the response as “an act of love and pride for our country”, Wanted In Rome reported.
Astounded by the response, Mr Conte remarked, “In such a difficult moment, this is yet another generous response that all of us Italians can be proud of.”
Meanwhile, Italy’s Civil Protection Department said it will start to assess the applications immediately, adding that it welcomes doctors from any field but will first look for anesthetists.
“This is about creating a rapid response team,” said the head of the Civil Protection, Angelo Borrelli. “The doctors selected will work alongside regional health service staff and volunteers who are already assisting in hospitals treating coronavirus patients.”
Hospitals in Italy are currently under huge strain as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge. About 80% of the Lombardy region’s acute-care beds were reserved for COVID-19 infected patients.
“As of now the region’s health-care system is holding up well, but if the increase in the number of infected people in need of intensive care doesn’t slow down we could have issues,” said Lombardy’s health official Giulio Gallera, indicating the situation as “a race against time”.
Italy has recorded a total of 63,927 COVID-19 cases and 6,077 fatalities to date (24 March), which has surpassed the COVID-19 death tolls in China.
China sent medical experts and supplies to help Italy amid the COVID-19 virus pandemic, while the European Union turned its back
Earlier on 18 March, about 300 Chinese intensive-care doctors have arrived in Italy as China offered to support Italy in dealing with the surging COVID-19 crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported.
China has also delivered test kits and protective clothing to Italy and other European countries such as Spain, Poland, and Greece.
The World Economic Forum’s article highlighted on 16 March that the country has also agreed to supply medical equipment, including contracts for 10,000 pulmonary ventilators, two million units of face masks, and 2,000 protective suits to Italy.
The Red Cross Society of China also sent nine medical workers and about 30 metric tons of equipment to Rome, Asia Times reported on 17 March.
“We’re willing to share hard-won diagnosis and treatment guidelines with Italians, and we also hope that our Italian colleagues will be able to enforce proper quarantine of infected cases and general epidemic control measures,” said medical worker Lu Ming, who also works with the National Health Commission’s international cooperation department.
Meanwhile, none of Italy’s partners in the European Union has responded to Rome’s requests for help with medical supplies.