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'Prepare yourself and your hospitals': Deputy mayor of worst-hit Italian town warns Ireland over Covid-19

Sergio Gandi, who has been living in isolation with his family, has told Irish people to expect disruption to their daily lives.

Medical workers in the town of Bergamo (file photo)
Medical workers in the town of Bergamo (file photo)
Image: IPA/ABACA/PA Images

THE DEPUTY MAYOR of Bergamo, the Italian town which has been hit hardest by Covid-19, has warned Irish people to prepare themselves for the outbreak to worsen.

Sergio Gandi has been living in isolation with his wife and two children since earlier this month, and is only allowed leave his home to go to the supermarket two or three times a week.

More than 40,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed and over 3,000 people have died in Italy, which has overtaken China as the country worst affected by Covid-19.

Bergamo has been described as the most badly affected town in the country’s worst-hit province, Lombardy.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 today, Gandi revealed that he hears reports every day that someone in a family he knows is sick or has died.

He also warned Ireland to get ready for the virus to worsen and suggested that it would majorly affect the way people live here. Gandi said:

Prepare yourselves. Even if you think that you can avoid and prevent the situation by being cautious, be careful.
It’s very important to stop the virus by staying at home… stay at home and prepare yourself, your hospitals, and your way of life.

But he also expressed hope for the future and said that although he did not know when the outbreak would be over, the town’s residents knew such a time would come eventually.

“The only important thing is to see [that] our relatives are okay,” Gandi added. “We are hardy people, and patient. We wait for a better time.”

Meanwhile, the head of emergency care in one hospital, Dr Roberto Cosentini, told Sky News that his staff has never seen anything like the outbreak.

“It’s a very severe pneumonia, and so it’s a massive strain for every health system, because we see every day 50 to 60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen,” he said.

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“And so we had to reorganise our emergency room and our hospital [to] three levels of intensive care.” 

One doctor also told Sky News that he had never been more stressed in his life.

“When you are at this point you realise that you are not enough,” they said. “We are 100 anaesthetists, we are doing our best, but maybe it’s not enough.”

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