Hospitals battling Italy's growing coronavirus outbreak are facing a "crisis," according to health officials in the southern European nation.
Italy now has over 820 cases, making it one of the worst hit countries in the world. Lombardy, in northern Italy, has 531 confirmed cases and a death toll of 17, the region's health secretary Giulio Gallera said Friday.
And hospitals are struggling to cope.
If the (coronavirus) keeps spreading, there will be a crisis of the hospitals, not only for those infected, but for all patients,” Gallera said.
Professor Massimo Galli, head of the department of infectious diseases at Sacco Hospital in Milan, said that some hospitals were already facing an overcrowding crisis.
The strain on health care infrastructure has long been a concern attached to the outbreak. In the Chinese province of Hubei, where the virus is thought to have originated, hospitals were initially unable to cope with the influx of new patients, a situation that is thought to have helped accelerate the spread of the virus during the early stages of the outbreak.