Coronavirus patients seen on life support surrounded by doctors in hazmat suits

Disturbing images show medics in hazmat suits battle to save Italian coronavirus patients hooked up on life-support machines.

The pictures were taken inside an intensive care unit at Cremona hospital, an Italian quarantine-zone hospital in Lombardy, as the killer bug continues to ravage the country, claiming 366 lives.

They show a number of male patients lying face-down on their hospital beds, to increase oxygen levels in the blood, while medics covered head-to-toe in protective gear to monitor their vitals.

The virus, which causes severe respiratory symptoms is said to affect men more than women and Italy has the highest death toll outside of China.

In serious cases patients develop pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and multiple organ failure, leading to death.

According to official figures 7,375 people are said to be infected in the country, with 20 regions affected and hospital beds in short supply.

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Italy has put 16 million people quarantine, with the northern region of Lombardy in complete lockdown, while no one is allowed to leave or enter quarantine zones including Milan and Venice.

All schools and public buildings have suspended access. The quarantine measures are expected to last until April 3.

Among the dead are six people who died in a prison riot in the city of Modena, as prisoners protested the suspension of visits.

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It is reported two of the dead died of drug overdoses after they took heroin substitute methadone from the prison pharmacy.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a public address last night: "We want to protect the health of all citizens, we are aware that this will create unease and that these measures will be a sacrifice, big and small,' Giuseppe Conte said in an address last night.

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"But this is the time to be responsible. We all must respect and not dodge these measures.

"We should not counter these measures or dodge them, we must think about protecting our health, the health of our beloved ones, the health of our parents, but mainly the health of our grandparents."

Parliament has also virtually closed down due to contagion fears, meeting just once a week to prevent a huge backlog of work.

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The World Health Organization said the aggressive measures were warranted to stop the spread of the virus.
"What is critical at this stage is that everybody join the efforts and do their part," a spokesman said.

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Attempts to quarantine large portions of the population could be echoed in countries around the world as events and festivals have already been called off.

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