Italy has ordered the army to move bodies from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak as the funeral services are so overwhelmed.
Disturbing footage from Bergamo, northeast of Milan, shows a convoy of military trucks driving through the streets overnight after removing coffins from the town’s cemetery.
An army spokesman confirmed 15 trucks and 50 soldiers had been deployed to move bodies to neighbouring provinces.
Local authorities in Bergamo had appealed for help withcremations after they had overwhelmed its crematorium.
The images of army trucks evacuating bodies show just how stretched the health services are in the worst-affected northern regions of Italy.
Giacomo Angeloni, the official in charge of Bergamo’s cemeteries, said the crematorium was working around the clock and handling around 24 bodies a day, almost twice its normal maximum, and was unable to keep up.
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With mortuaries overflowing, church pews have been removedto create space for the scores of coffins arriving every day.
Lombardy provincial governor Attilio Fontana said doctorsand nurses in the region’s hospitals were at their limits.
‘I’m worried about the possibility they could succumb physically and psychologically because if they were to succumb, it would really be a disaster,’ he told a local radio station.
It comes as Italy recorded the largest ever one-day increase in coronavirus deaths on Wednesday as the total rose by 475 to almost 3,000.
There were more than 300 deaths in the region of Lombardyalone, where Bergamo, the worst-hit province with more than 4,000 cases, islocated.
Italy went into virtual lockdown before other countries inEurope but, with cases still rising, the government is considering even toughermeasures that would further restrict the limited amount of outdoor movementcurrently permitted.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reportedly said the government would extend the deadline on current emergency measures closing schools and many businesses.
The measures currently order most shops to stay shut untilat least March 25 and schools till April 3.
Conte did not say how long the measures would be prolonged.
Officials have said tougher measures could be needed because too many people are not respecting the order to stay at home for all but essential purposes, and thousands are still falling ill.
How countries around the world are reacting to coronavirus
Europe and the EU
France has announced some of the most strident measures on its own citizens, including the closure of all non-essential businesses such as shops, cafes, restaurants and cinemas and ski resorts, as well as schools, nurseries and universities.
On Monday evening, President Emmanuel Macron warned any French citizens that flout the ban could face ‘sanctions’.
In a televised address, he said: ‘We are at a war: A health war.
‘We fight not against an army, or against another nation, but the enemy is there – it advances and that requires national mobilisation.’
The hardest-hit European nation so far with more than 1,800 deaths, the FCO advises against all but essential travel to all of Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia.
The country is in lockdown and the Italian authorities have advised against travel for tourism purposes and said tourists already on holiday in Italy should limit their movements to those necessary to return to the place where they live.
Spain introduced a state of emergency on March 14 banning public gatherings and temporarily closing all non-essential business.
The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the country.
Everyone arriving in Greece from abroad was required to self-isolate for 14 days as of Monday. The government has also prohibited the docking of cruise ships and sail boats in Greek ports.
All cafes, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close, along with shopping centres, cinemas and theatres as well as the majority of leisure and sporting activities.
Supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies and takeaway food services continue to operate.
A state of emergency was declared in the country on Sunday. All hotels and tourist accommodation have been instructed to close by Saturday until April 30.
The FCO has advised against all but essential travel to Cyprus and is urging people to follow the advice of the Cypriot authorities, including leaving their tourist accommodation by March 21.
British nationals are advised against all but essential travel to the whole country, after Danish authorities announced they would be closing the borders for a month in response to the pandemic.
Foreign nationals who ‘do not have a recognised purpose for entering Denmark’ will be barred from entry.
The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the country, owing to restrictions being put in place following the outbreak, which has seen borders closed and border controls introduced.
Non-Polish nationals will only be able to enter the country if they are a spouse or child of a Polish national, hold a Pole’s Card, or otherwise have the right to stay or work in the country.
The Slovenian government announced the cancellation of air traffic from 11.59pm on Monday, leaving those travelling to the country at risk of becoming stranded.
The Slovenian border with Austria remains open for UK nationals, but the FCO has warned there will be no direct flights between Austria and the UK from midnight on Monday and has advised against all but essential travel.
The Hungarian government has announced a state of emergency and said on Monday it would be closing its borders to all foreigners, with only Hungarian citizens permitted to enter.
The UK government has advised British nationals against all but essential travel to the whole country.
The Norwegian authorities have said that all non-resident visitors arriving from countries other than Finland and Sweden would be asked to leave Norway on arrival, prompting the FCO to advise against all but essential travel.
British nationals legally resident in Norway will be allowed to enter the country but must enter self-quarantine for 14 days.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian Airlines have announced they will be cancelling 80% of their flights from Monday.
The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to Montenegro due to the government’s decision to introduce measures including a ban on entry to all foreigners save for freight vehicle drivers and those with a permanent or temporary residence permit.
Other measures include the closure of all bars and restaurants, as well as all shops excluding food shops and pharmacies.
British nationals wishing to leave are urged to do so as soon as possible.
Serbia has temporarily banned entry for foreigners, although its own citizens and those with a temporary or permanent residence permit are still allowed to enter.
All international arrivals who do have permission to enter will be required to self-isolate for at least 14 days, while those arriving from Italy, Romania, Spain, Germany, France, Austria, Slovenia and Greece must self-isolate for 28 days.
The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the country, and asks those wishing to leave to make arrangements to do so as soon as possible.
The Russian government announced it will restrict entry into the whole country for almost all foreign citizens from Wednesday until May 1 with a small number of exceptions.
- Elsewhere in Europe
The FCO has advised against all but essential travel to Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, parts of Portugal, Albania, Kosovo and San Marino, citing reasons including travel restrictions and flight cancellations, the risk of being placed into quarantine and the risk of contracting the virus.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday the country would be partially closing its borders in response to Covid-19.
Non-Canadian citizens will be refused entry, although US citizens are exempt from the ban.
Also exempt are permanent residents, immediate family of Canadian citizens, diplomats and aircrew.
- United States
On March 14, the US government extended an existing European travel ban to the UK and Ireland, with the exception of returning US citizens and legal residents.
The FCO subsequently updated its advice on March 15 and advised against all but essential travel to the whole country.
- Central and South America
The FCO also advises against all but essential travel to Argentina, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru for UK nationals due to the risk of being placed into quarantine and the possibility of becoming stranded due to travel restrictions
The FCO advises against all travel to Hubei province due to the outbreak, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. If you are in China and able to leave, the FCO says you should do so.
The FCO advises against all travel to two parts of the country close to Mount Agung and Mount Sinabung craters due to ongoing volcanic activity.
The department advises against all but essential travel to the rest of the country due to a 14-day quarantine requirement.
- Elsewhere in Asia
The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the South Korean cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan which have been designated ‘special care zones’ by authorities due to outbreaks, as well as to Burma, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
Travellers to these countries face becoming stranded due to travel restrictions, being placed in quarantine or of potentially catching the virus.
The FCO advises against all but essential travel to Kenya after authorities there announced measures restricting people, other than Kenyan citizens and resident permit holders, from going if they have travelled through countries affected by coronavirus, including the UK.
The restrictions will come into effect from Tuesday.
- South Africa
The FCO advises against all but essential travel to South Africa following restrictions announced limiting who can enter the country.
Authorities said travellers from high-risk countries, including the UK and US, would not be permitted to enter the country from March 18.
Visitors from high-risk countries, including the UK, who have entered the country since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.
The country announced on Monday evening that flights to and from Egypt will be suspended from midday on Thursday until March 31, and the FCO has advised against all but essential travel to the region.
Those already in the country are advised to immediately arrange their departure.
All international flights from and to Tunisia will be suspended from Wednesday and the FCO is urging those still in the country to contact their airline or tour operator and arrange to leave as soon as possible.
- Elsewhere in Africa
The countries of Liberia, Malawi, Morocco and Sierra Leone are also considering travel restrictions and enforced quarantine on travellers from high-risk countries such as the UK, prompting the FCO to advise against all but essential travel to those countries.
New Zealand and Australia
- New Zealand
Arrivals from countries other than China and Iran will have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, the department said. Foreign nationals arriving from China or Iran will not be allowed to enter the country.
The government announced that all persons including its own citizens arriving from abroad would be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
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