Dr. Gal Peleg, an Israeli doctor working in Italy’s coronavirus epicentre, has warned that many hospitals will no longer be giving respirators to anyone aged over sixty. 

Dr. Peleg who works in Parma, Italy, told Israeli Channel 12 news that respirator machines are in such limited supply that healthcare professionals need to strictly prioritise how they are allocated, according to the Jerusalem Post.

So far Italy’s death toll has surpassed 6,000, with more than 2,000 of those deaths occurring in the last 4 days alone. It has been reported that Dr. Peleg’s department allows terminally-ill patients to say goodbye to their relatives and loved ones despite the quarantine rules.

Reactions online were shocked, with thousands of users sending words of support to Italians from abroad.

In the last few days the Italian government has locked down all non-essential services and businesses, bringing the country to a standstill. And yet the country has still seen a massive lurch in the number of deaths, jumping from 739 fatalities to 4,825 in a single day – the deadliest day of the virus seen yet – and rising quickly. Pope Francis has even been making his weekly address via videolink, refusing to appear in public amid infection fears.

However, this may spell bad news for the UK, as the British death toll now stands at 355 – a similar death toll to where Italy was a fortnight ago. This has led experts to speculate that the UK may be on a similar trajectory, if not worse. Some scientists predict that Britain may experience Italy’s dramatic spike in cases in the coming weeks.

Professor Francois Balloux of University College London says that UK is likely to mirror Italy’s situation in terms of severity, telling the Telegraph “The trajectory of the epidemic in the UK is so far roughly comparable to the one in Northern Italy, but with the epidemic in Northern Italy two to three weeks ahead of the situation in the UK”.

The British premier Boris Johnson warned that the UK should be prepared for an Italy-like scenario.

The Conservative Prime Minister said: “The numbers are very stark and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks – two or three – behind Italy.”

He went on to emphasise: “The Italians have a superb health care system. And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand. The Italian death toll is already in the thousands and climbing.

“Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread – then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed.”