People with suspected coronavirus in Naples, Italy, have been given oxygen in their cars after a nearby hospital became overwhelmed with patients.
A queue of cars and ambulances formed outside Cotugno Hospital, which appeared unable to cope with the influx of new COVID-19 cases.
Medical workers in the country’s third largest city checked up on people waiting in line in their vehicles and provided oxygen tanks to those with breathing difficulties.
Antonio Abenante, a local resident in the regional capital of Campania, said he was worried after being unable to get information about his father’s condition.
He said: “Today my father didn’t reply to me on the phone, and I am worried.
“We called a doctor, and he told us all the doctors in the ward are in isolation because they got COVID-19, and this was the doctor on duty and he didn’t know anything.”
Another Naples resident, Elisa Esposito, said her dad contracted coronavirus after being treated in the hospital for another condition.
Ms Esposito said: “This is a shameful situation because the health system here is totally collapsed, how can it be that I take my father to hospital for another condition that he needs to be treated for, and he gets COVID-19 inside a ward that it is not for COVID-19 patients?”
Dr Filippo Anelli, head of the national doctors’ association in Italy, warned that if the current rate of infection continues, there may not be enough doctors available.
He said that while nationally Italy has a total of 11,000 beds in intensive care units, there are only enough anaesthesiologists for around 5,000 patients.
A total of 2,849 intensive care unit beds are currently in use, with an increase of 100 on Monday.
Campania has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country and was under yellow-zone restrictions last week.
This means that restaurants and bars are required to close at 6pm and there is a 10pm curfew.
However, officials have been deciding on whether red-zone restrictions should be applied on more regions to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Lombardy, Calabria, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta are currently under red-zone restrictions, meaning people can only leave their homes for essential reasons such as food shopping, medical appointments, work, or school for younger pupils.
Italy recorded 25,271 coronavirus cases and 356 deaths on Monday, according to the health ministry, with the northern Lombardy region continuing to be the worst affected in the country.
Since the start of the pandemic, Italy has had 960,373 cases and 41,750 deaths in total.
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