- Professor Mohamed Abu Hilal, writing from Brescia, Italy, made the warning
- He said officials must prepare more beds, doctors and nurses
- Italy has put full scale lock downs in place to stop the 15,113 cases increasing
- 60million residents were told to stay in their homes to ‘social distance’
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today hold an emergency meeting to consider similar measures, after mounting pressure on the Government
- It follows a surge of 85 cases in the UK. Now 460 people have tested positive
Professor Mohamed Abu Hilal, who now works in Brescia, north Italy, urged officials to prepare more beds, doctors and nurses in the NHS in light of the fiasco happening in the worst hit country of Europe.
He warned it’s not only the elderly who are dying of COVID-19, although figures suggest they are the most vulnerable.
Italy put full-scale lockdowns nationwide in place on Monday, with court action and fines threatened for people breaking imposed curfews.
Schools, cafes, hairdressers and restaurants have been closed as 60million residents are told to stay in their homes in ‘social distancing’ measures in order to curb the escalating crisis there.
Mounting pressure has built on the Government to move quickly to impose similar rules because it’s feared the UK is heading the same direction as Italy, where 15,113 cases and 1,016 deaths have been confirmed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today hold an emergency meeting and is expected to move the ‘battle plan’ into the next stage.
It follows a surge of 85 in the UK cases yesterday. Now, a total of 460 people have tested positive for COVID-19 nationwide, an eight-fold increase in a single week.
Total confirmed infections in Europe has topped 23,000 with 951 deaths, according to a new tally which is compiled from official sources.
In Italy a rise in cases of 31 per cent was reported today by the Civil Protection Agency, the largest increase in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on February 21.
In drastic moves overnight, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the latest wave of restrictions would see all shops except pharmacies and food outlets closed in response to the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
Italy’s grave outbreak of coronavirus has already emptied landmarks and tourist hotspots, leaving streets eerily quiet, and halted flights between the UK and various other countries.
Professor Abu Hilal, who used to work for Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, is now chief of the department of surgery at Poliambulanza Institute Hospital Foundation, Brescia.
He penned: ‘Form Brescia north of Italy : to my friends accross the glob !COVID19 is serious, feels to be in a war! People are dying, not only elderly.
‘Beds are full. Goverments must shut down everything, prepare beds, ventilators , antivirals, doctors and nurses. People should stay at HOME! [sic]’
Medics on the frontline in Italy have spoken about their health service struggling to cope with the strain of extra hospital admissions, despite the World Health Organization ranking it second globally for overall performance after France.
It is now being considered to admit patients on a ‘first come first served’ basis, and to use ‘catastrophe medicine’ guidelines – typically used in war zones and during natural disasters – where those with the greatest chance of survival are given priority.
Giorgio Gori, Bergamo mayor, tweeted: ‘It seems that the increase [in the number of cases] is slowing down, but it’s only because we have no longer beds in intensive care (few are added with great effort). Patients who cannot be treated are left to die’, the Financial Times reported.
Leading UK doctors have already expressed their concern the the NHS will cripple under the pressure of a full-scale coronavirus outbreak.
The Government have acknowledged the UK will see thousands more diagnosed with COVID-19 and have said they are ‘following the science’ in terms of appropriate restrictions to limit the spread.
But Professor Abu Hilal’s thoughts echo those of other leading medical figures who have criticised the Governments response, such as Richard Horton, chief editor of the prestigious Lancet medical journal.
Writing on Twitter last night, Mr Horton said: ‘The UK Government – Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson – claim they are following the science. But that is not true.
‘The evidence is clear. We need urgent implementation of social distancing and closure policies.
The Government is playing roulette with the public. This is a major error.’