Chinese medical team urges stricter ways to curb loopholes in Italy

By Xie Wenting Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/20 21:28:40

Chinese medical experts talk with local doctors and Red Cross staff in Padova, Italy, March 17, 2020. Chinese medical experts arrived in Padova from Rome on Tuesday. (Photo by Qin Xiaoli/Xinhua)

Italy should enforce more draconian measures to plug the loopholes in its fight against the deadly coronavirus, as the country's death toll has surpassed China and reached 3,405 on Thursday, a doctor with China's medical team in Italy told the Global Times.

Italy, the hardest hit nation in Europe, has now reported a higher mortality rate of about 8 percent than other European countries, which has drawn worldwide concern. 

Xiao Ning, deputy director of the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Global Times that the many deaths happened in Lombardy, the northern Italian region, which recorded an 11 percent of mortality rate. That may be due to the slow reaction to the virus at the start and the large number of elderly people. 

Xiao is the member of China's first medical team in Italy who arrived in the country on March 13 to help fight the deadly virus. East China's Fujian Province will send its medical team to Italy on Sunday, which will be the third Chinese medical team in the country. 

Xiao said he heard the number of Chinese people getting infected with the COVID-19 in Italy is small. It's reported that there are more than 200,000 Chinese people living in the country. 

After staying in Italy for a week, Xiao told the Global Times that while the country has taken some draconian measures including a city lockdown, these measures are not implemented fully and strictly.

The city lockdown in Italy is different from what China has taken in Wuhan, the hardest hit city in Central China's Hubei Province, Xiao said. Public transportation is still running and people can go outside of their residential community once they apply online. "The community supervision is quite loose. If a patient who is in the latent period goes outside, it will bring great danger to the whole community," he said.

Meanwhile, the number of people wearing masks is still low. China's medical team has advised local health authorities to promote wearing masks among Italian citizens, but the effect is not very good. 

The medical team also advised authorities to send doctors to Italy's southern region where the outbreak is comparatively much lower to the northern region, but they were told it's not realistic to implement.

Xiao said Italy should keep those with suspected symptoms in quarantine together, rather than letting them stay at home for quarantine. It's necessary to build more makeshift hospitals like China had done, he added.

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