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Italian army trucks in Bergamo remove bodies from packed morgue to crematoriums

The Ansa news agency reports that the vehicles were needed because there were no spaces available in local cemeteries.
Mar 19th 2020, 11:02 AM 33,200 24

italy-virus-outbreak A giant Italian flag from the facade of Palazzo Medolago Albani in Bergamo. Source: Luca Bruno/PA Images

ARMY VEHICLES HAVE been seen on streets of Bergamo in Italy to help transport people who’ve died from coronavirus to crematoriums outside the city. 

The Ansa news agency reports that the vehicles were needed because there were no spaces available in local cemeteries. 

Italian newspaper la Republican reports similar, saying the vehicles are parked in a column at Borgo Palozzo, a few hundred metres from a cemetery. 

“The army vans are used to transport the coffins from the Bergamo cemetery to the crematoria of other regions,” the newspaper reports. 

“The reason, as is now known, is that the mortuary in Bergamo has not been able to accommodate the coffin of coronavirus victims for days. And the same goes for the crematorium.”

The city of Bergamo has the highest number of cases in the country and is located in the Lombardy region, where at least 1,640 coronavirus deaths have taken place. 

The Guardian reports that the death toll in Bergamo is unclear, but that CFB, the area’s largest funeral director, has carried out almost 600 burials or cremations since 1 March.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said earlier today that lockdown measures taken over the coronavirus pandemic are to be extended beyond their original deadlines. 

Imposed nationally on 12 March, the shutdown of most businesses and a ban on public gatherings in Italy, the European country worst hit by the pandemic, are due to expire on 25 March.

School closures and other measures, such as a ban fan attendance at sporting events, are due to run on until 3 April.

“The measures we have taken… must be extended beyond their original deadline,” Conte told Thursday’s edition of the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Conte referred to the closures of many businesses, “individual activities” and the shutdown of schools.

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“We have avoided the collapse of the system, the restrictive measures function,” Conte said.

He expressed hope that the country will hit a peak in a few days and see a decline in infection rates.

But he warned “we will not be able to return immediately to life as it was before” even after worst is over.

The pandemic killed 475 people in Italy between Tuesday and Wednesday, the worst toll in a country in a single day, according to an official count published Wednesday.

A total of nearly 3,000 people have died because of the virus in Italy, almost as many as in China, where the pandemic began in late December.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2020

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