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Italian doctors call for national lockdown amid surge of cases

The Italian association of doctors and surgeons has called for a national lockdown as the country grapples with an increase in Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and intensive care unit (ICU) patients.

If the trend continues, Italy will record another 10,000 more deaths in a month’s time, the association’s president Filippo Anelli said on Sunday, warning that last week's data "does not make us foresee anything good".

"On average last week we have recorded 1,000 hospitalized patients per day, 110 in intensive care, 25,000 in home isolation and over 300 deaths per day," Anelli said.

He added: “In a month’s time, if this trend were to remain unchanged, we will have another 10,000 more deaths and we will exceed the threshold of 5,000 beds in intensive care."

"The scenario that lies ahead is dramatic, not only for the treatment of Covid patients but above all for the treatment of all patients who have other diseases."

Italy is already under a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. nationwide curfew, with bars and restaurants closing at 6 p.m., while certain areas face harsher restrictions.

Residents in "red zone" regions -- Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta and Calabria -- may only leave home for necessities, health or work. Those in "orange zones" are banned from leaving their towns except for work or health reasons.

Anelli said further "drastic measures are needed, such as a total lockdown," to avoid having hospitals being overwhelmed at the end of December, the beginning of January, with Covid-19 patients and those with flu.

Italy registered 32,616 new daily Covid-19 cases and 331 related deaths on Sunday, according to data from the country's Health Ministry.