COVID-19: Italy doctors warn of ‘bio bombs’ from patients sent to care homes

Rome: Italian doctors and unions have warned that a government policy to send patients discharged from hospital but still positive for coronavirus to care homes is like priming “biological bombs”.

With over 28,000 people in hospital including more than 4,000 in intensive care, beds need to be freed up as soon as possible, and those unable to convalesce in isolation at home are being moved to care homes or requisitioned hotels.

The virus has already infiltrated assisted living facilities across the nation, in what is being dubbed the “silent massacre”.

The virus has killed nearly 12,500 people in Italy.

Hundreds of people in care homes are feared to have succumbed to the disease – over 600 in the hard-hit Bergamo region alone – though firm data are impossible to find, with many victims reportedly going untested, experts say.

They have voiced serious concerns over the safety of the 300,000 or so residents in Italy’s 7,000 care homes.

“In a war like this, we can’t expose ourselves to the danger of a recurrence of new outbreaks that risk turning care homes into ‘biological bombs’ that spread the virus,” Raffaele Antonelli Incalzi, head of Italian geriatric society SIGG, told AFP.

“Widely using care home beds to ease pressure on hospitals… would put the elderly residents at risk, and they are the weakest link in this pandemic,” he said. AFP