Italian coronavirus town is holding a funeral every 30 minutes

Italian town at the centre of the coronavirus pandemic is holding a funeral every 30 minutes after 146 people died in a week while Spanish Prime Minister’s wife tests positive for virus

  • Bergamo, in the Lombardy region, Italy has been ravaged by killer coronavirus
  • The mortuary of the local hospital is full with bodies now being kept in churches 
  • One councillor added that coronavirus patients are being buried every half hour
  • It comes as the wife of the Spanish Prime Minister also tested positive for virus 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

An Italian town at the centre of the coronavirus pandemic is holding burials every half an hour after 146 people died there in a week. 

The mortuary at the local hospital in Bergamo, Lombardy, is full, with bodies kept in churches while awaiting burial. 

It comes as Begona Gomez, the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, tested positive for the virus. 

Two ministers from Mr Sanchez’s Cabinet, the minister of equality and the minister of regional affairs, had already tested positive earlier this week.

People wear protective face masks while attending a funeral service near Bergamo, Lombardy in northern Italy 

The mortuary at the local hospital in Bergamo is full, with bodies kept in churches before funeral service

The virus has battered Europe, with Italy, the worst-hit European country, seeing the number of deaths climb past 1,400 and infections surging overnight to more than 21,000 because of what authorities characterized as irresponsible behavior by people still socializing despite the nationwide lockdown. 

The northern region of Lombardy, which includes Milan, is the area worst-hit by the virus. 

Several towns in the region have been ravaged by the crisis, including picturesque Bergamo, which is just 40 miles from Milan. 

Giacomo Angeloni, councillor in charge of cemeteries in Bergamo, said: ‘We are facing an emergency there is no doubting that. We are having a burial every half an hour.

‘We had 18 on Saturday, 44 over Sunday and Monday, 33 on Tuesday and 51 on Wednesday. We’ve had to close Bergamo cemetery for the time being to cope.’

‘We are using churches as temporary mortuaries. I have to thank my staff for what they are doing in the face of this tragedy. Certainly we never imagined having to deal with an emergency on this level.’

Yesterday, Italy reported its biggest day-to-day jump in cases of the virus.  

A man on the way to a funeral service near Bergamo wears a face mask over coronavirus fears

The centre of Bergamo is empty with bars, restaurants and boutiques all closed due to the coronavirus outbreak

A little more than half of those new cases occurred in Lombardy.  

Spanish authorities meanwhile said the number of infections in the country climbed past 5,700, with half of them in the capital, Madrid. 

That represents a national increase of over 1,500 in 24 hours. The country had 136 deaths, up from 120. 

Spain has the fifth-highest number of cases, behind China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.

In a nationally televised address Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez detailed the battery of exceptional measures put in place as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in infections.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (right) and his wife Begona Gomez. She has tested positive for the coronavirus

Two ministers of Sanchez’s Cabinet, the minister of equality and the minister of regional affairs, had already tested positive earlier this week

Later Saturday, Spain’s government said Sanchez’s wife has tested positive for coronavirus. Begona Gomez and the prime minister are in good health, the goverrnment said.

Two ministers of Sanchez’s Cabinet, the minister of equality and the minister of regional affairs, had already tested positive earlier this week. The others member of the Cabinet have tested negative.

In a lockdown similar to the one already imposed in Italy, people will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to hospitals and banks, or take trips related to the care of the young and the elderly. All schools and universities were closed, along with restaurants, bars, hotels and other non-essential retail businesses.

‘From now we enter into a new phase,’ Sanchez said after a Cabinet meeting that lasted over seven hours. ‘We won’t hesitate in doing what we must to beat the virus. We are putting health first.’  

Meanwhile, it was announced that all French ski resorts are closing today and will not reopen for the rest of the season. 

‘The ski season ends today,’ Domaines Skiables de France, which groups the country’s resort operators, said on Twitter.

‘Holiday-makers and professionals, we’re all passionate about skiing and must face up to the seriousness of the situation.’

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