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 with cremations 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.
With mortuaries overflowing, church pews have been removed to create space for the scores of coffins arriving every day. Lombardy provincial governor Attilio Fontana said doctors and 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.