…As Israeli hospital lets family bid farewell to dying patients***
The Italian government is preparing a five-point plan for the controlled reopening of the country as its coronavirus epidemic abates, Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, said on Sunday.
Italy has faced the most serious outbreak in Europe.
However, the contagion is slowing and there are signs of impatience and lockdown fatigue among businesses and the population.
Speranza, speaking to La Repubblica newspaper, said the government would maintain social-distancing rules, develop home medicine tools to treat more people outside hospitals and massively scale-up testing.
“Testing millions of people should reveal how many Italians have been infected, if and how they are immune, how many and in which areas they can return to a normal life,’’ the minister said.
He also talked about opening more dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and developing an app to track the infected and give them remote access to medical care.
Speranza urged caution, saying there would be “no single day on which we will be able to say it’s all over,’’ and that it would be “irresponsible” to promise a date for a return to normality.
Echoing experts’ warnings that the emergency would be fully over, only when a vaccine is found, the minister talked about creating “the conditions for cohabitation with this virus’’.
Italy has been under lockdown since March 10.
Restrictions expire on April 13 and according to multiple press reports, a limited number of industries may be allowed to reopen after that date.
On Saturday, Italy’s daily COVID-19 death toll fell below 700 for the first time in nine days.
However, the country’s overall death toll, at 15,362, remains the world’s highest.
However, in Israel, Israel’s Ichilov hospital has begun allowing relatives wearing protective gear to say goodbye to loved ones dying of the novel coronavirus and is calling on other hospitals to follow its example.
“The stories of patients dying alone are horrifying to me as a human being and as a manager,” the central Tel Aviv hospital’s CEO, Roni Gamzu, in a statement released on Sunday, said.
Gamzu said that health systems were too inflexible.
“We at Ichilov have formulated guidelines, effective immediately, which will allow family members, wearing full protective gear supplied by the hospital, to say farewell to their loved ones.
“This is our moral duty as medical staff and as human beings. I believe that the rest of the world will follow our example, as it should,’’ he said.
The Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre (Ichilov) said it was “the first hospital in the world to allow families of coronavirus patients to say farewell to their dying loved ones in person.”
Over 8,000 people have been tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, in Israel, with 127 in serious condition, of whom 106 are being ventilated.
Forty-six have died, while 477 recovered and been discharged.
Other hospitals in Israel have begun looking for creative ways to allow relatives to part from dying coronavirus patients.