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Coronavirus: Positive effects of Italy's COVID-19 lockdown 'yet to be seen'

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A soldier checks a passenger's papers at Milan's main train station, Italy
A soldier checks a passenger's papers at Milan's main train station, Italy   -   Copyright  AP
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The positive effects of Italy's coronavirus lockdown are yet to be seen, the director of a Milan hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) has told Euronews..

Giacomo Grasselli, from Policlinico Hospital, said that until yesterday, the number of patients needing ICU treatment was still on the rise, and that due to the fact it takes a few days for COVID-19 symptoms to show, a reduction in numbers may be apparent "in the next week".

Italy went into a nationwide lockdown to try to stop the spread of coronavirus which has infected nearly 70,000 people and killed more than 6,800 in the country - making it the world's worst affected country, ahead of Spain and China.

Hospitals in Italy and Spain have started running low on space and resources as the number of patients with serious COVID-19 symptoms shot up over the last few weeks.

Grasselli told Euronews his hospital is trying to grant people invasive ICU treatment "if a patient has a reasonable probability of surviving" that treatment.

"Clearly the same number of doctors and nurses have to take care of a much larger number of patients," he said.

"So this means that the quality of care clearly cannot be the same as it was before.

"But, until now, we have been able to cope with this. But this mismatch is becoming larger every day.

"Unfortunately in ICU we're still not seeing the positive effects of the restrictive measures that have been put in place 12 days ago."

Italy has been in lockdown since 10 March, and citizens can only leave their homes to go to work, buy basic necessities or for health reasons.