Italy Stocks Up On Ventilators To Prepare For Possible Second Wave Of COVID-19 Cases

A worker sanitizes the entrance of the Atlantic hotel, in Rome, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. After seven weeks in lockdown to contain one of the world’s worst outbreaks of COVID-19, Italians are regaining some freedo... A worker sanitizes the entrance of the Atlantic hotel, in Rome, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. After seven weeks in lockdown to contain one of the world’s worst outbreaks of COVID-19, Italians are regaining some freedoms, starting on May 4, public parks and gardens will re-open and people will be able to visit relatives who live in the same region. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) MORE LESS

ROME — Italy’s head of the coronavirus pandemic strategy says the country is prepared for a second wave of infections “even bigger than the first” if its gradual reopening leads to a surge in new cases.

Domenico Arcuri told the lower Chamber of Deputies that Italy’s 20 regions now have twice as many ventilators than currently needed and the 5,200 intensive care beds Italy had before the pandemic had nearly doubled to 9,000.

Italy, the European epicenter of the pandemic with more than 27,000 dead, entered the crisis with a fraction of the ICU capacity compared to other developed nations.

Arcuri told lawmakers that beds in sub-intensive care had increased six-fold, the same increase in Italy’s bed capacity in infectious disease and pneumology wards.

Italy’s planned reopening begins May 4.

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