Doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients had their phones, computers and wallets stolen.
Thieves broke into the emergency department at the Palermo polyclinic clinic in Sicily, Italy, at around 8.30pm yesterday, while medics battle COVID-19 in the country most afflicted in Europe.
The heartless thieves pocketed four monitors, two computers and most of the personal belongings of doctors and trainees, La Repubblica reports.
The military were notified and are trying to identify the thieves using surveillance footage.
While the north of Italy has been the worst hit by the virus, there was an exodus to the south before the government brought in the quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Tens of thousands are thought to have fled on trains and in cars as the ban was set in motion earlier in March.
The country has 27,980 confirmed cases, while 2,158 people have died at the time of writing.
The island of Sicily has 83 confirmed cases, and Catania – the second-largest city after Palermo, is the most affected city with 41 positive cases.
Medics working on the frontline in Italy described caring for coronavirus patients as ‘going into battle’ with hospital at their ‘absolute limit’ with hundreds of deaths daily and huge challenges in caring for those infected, according to a Channel 4 report.
Saverio Chiaravalle, the vice-president of the Varese doctors order, said: “They are all doctors who had no fear of going into combat knowing the risks they were running.
“They died on the field, but when you are in combat you don’t imagine it could happen to you.
“The enemy is invisible, but this is like a war, and the only solution is to isolate – those who have to work must work with precautions, the rest must stay at home.”
UK citizens have been told not to travel anywhere in the world for at least the next 30 days.
The Government has changed its advice to ban all “non-essential travel” as it attempts to clampdown on the spread of the coronavirus.
If your journey has been cancelled, check the terms and conditions of your booking or travel insurance to see what the small print says.
If you have a package holiday booked and part or all of it is cancelled by the organiser/airline, you must be offered a refund within 14 days.
Some organisers are offering alternative holidays or allowing consumers to reschedule but this is not a legal remedy.
If you booked a flight separately that has now been cancelled, the following rules apply:
- If your flight was due to depart from the United Kingdom, European Union, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland or was due to arrive in one of these countries via a UK/EU airline, you should be offered a choice of three alternatives.
- If it was a non-EU flight, you will need to check the terms and conditions for the airline.
If the FCO advises against all but essential travel to your destination and you’re flying out from a UK airport, or returning to one, and your flight is cancelled, you’ll be entitled to a refund under a European Union regulation, called EC261.
Your airline will inform you if this happens, and in some cases you may be able to negotiate to postpone your flight to later in the year.
In the UK ministers have begun drawing up plans to cope with the impact if schools are forced to close as the coronavirus crisis develops.
Boris Johnson said there were “plans ready to go” to help parents of children who will lose their free meals if schools are ordered to shut.
The Government has so far insisted school closures are not justified as part of the effort to combat Covid-19 but the biggest teachers’ union has called for that step to be taken.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, announcing the suspension of routine Ofsted inspections, said closures would only take place if the chief medical officer or chief scientific adviser say it is in the best interests of children and teachers.
The Prime Minister was asked at his daily press conference about the prospect of closures and the impact on free school meals.
“On free school meals, as we come to the decision on schools we will have obviously plans ready to go on that,” Mr Johnson said.
“Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has a plan to make sure that parents with kids who are eligible for free school meals get the compensation or the treatment they need one way or the other, we certainly anticipated that.”
The possibility of school closures is contained in the Government’s action plan for the pandemic and Number 10 sources said they had “never shied away from the fact” that might have to happen.
The National Education Union called for schools to be closed “at least for some time and at least in some areas” due to the outbreak.