Coronavirus patients in Italy died at a rate of one every two minutes yesterday as the virus continues to ravage the country.
Sobering figures show 793 people lost their lives to Covid-19 in Italy on Saturday – equating to an average of 33 deaths per hour.
This marks the biggest increase in fatalities yet over a single 24-hour period.
The nation’s overall death toll is now 4,825, surpassing China, where the killer bug first originated in the city of Wuhan.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that Britain is only “two or three” weeks behind Italy on the spread of Covid-19.
A nurse wearing protective mask and gear comforts another as they change shifts in Milan
The UK’s death toll from the pandemic today is exactly the same as Italy’s was two weeks ago.
Coronavirus has now killed 233 people in Britain – a figure which Italy reached on March 7.
In todays Sunday papers, Johnson has issued a stark warning the NHS could become as overwhelmed as Italy’s health service unless ‘heroic’ efforts are made.
“Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread – then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed,” he said.
The coffins of the coronavirus dead are piled up in the church of Every Saints in the cemetery in Bergamo
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 53,578, up from 47,021 on Friday.
The Italian army has now been sent in to enforce quarantine measures in Lombardy, the country’s worst-affected region.
More than 100 soldiers were deployed to the northern Italian region to keep people inside after reports of people defying lockdown rules.
Shocking footage from inside hospitals in Bergamo also shows patients stricken by the bug laid up in corridors and waiting rooms.
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Meanwhile the army had to be drafted in to transport bodies of victims to crematoriums outside the area as local facilities simply cannot cope.
Haunting images of military trucks laden with coffins stand as a terrifying reminder to the rest of Europe of the dangers posed by Covid-19 if the chain of infection cannot be broken.
A 43-year-old vet from Italy who was hospitalised with the virus has issued an emotional plea to those ignoring still ignoring advice to stay home.
Sky’s Stuart Ramsay was invited in to see the scale of the crisis in Bergamo
Daniela De Rosa, who has been admitted to a Naples hospital with viral pneumonia, spoke of how she went from a healthy individual to a virtual wreck relying on a ventilator to keep her alive, as exhausted medical staff struggle to cope around her.
In a video she made begging people to stay at home, she said: “This ventilator has been my best friend. It saved my life.
“Before this I was in perfect health, now I’m fighting for my life. So many haven’t respected the rules and put at risk the lives of others. I want you to see me and look in my eyes and see the suffering of those who have to fight this virus.”