A man who had been waiting to get tested for the coronavirus has been found dead in the bathroom of a busy hospital emergency room in Italy as the virus runs ‘out of control’.
Hospitals across the country have struggled to manage the skyrocketing COVID-19 numbers, as Europe, Japan and the US also hit new highs.
The World Health Organisation has urged people to continue complying with lockdowns as it became clear new vaccines would not come soon enough for many COVID-19 sufferers.
The number of cases across Italy roared past the one million mark on Wednesday – with half of those infections emerging in just the last 19 days.
The footage of a man slumped over the toilet went viral on social media after someone managed to sneak into the stall at Cardarelli Hospital in Naples to film as staff were looking for a stretcher to take the body away.
The unidentified man had been waiting for a coronavirus test in a packed emergency room before he died.
The past 24 hours have seen 636 coronavirus sufferers die, making for the country’s highest daily death toll since April 6.
Victims in Italy’s third-largest city Naples have been administered oxygen and placed on drips through their car windows as they wait for hours for COVID-19 tests or to be admitted to hospital.
“The situation in Naples and in many areas of Campania is out of control. The central government needs to intervene because there is no time left,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.
Further south, on the island of Sicily, the mayor of Palermo warned on Monday his region faced an “inevitable massacre” as infections rose there.
‘COVID-19 is not tired’
Tokyo confirmed 393 new cases, the largest daily count in three months, while the western prefecture of Osaka experienced 231 cases, surpassing 200 for the third day in a row.
Recent surges “can be considered as a third wave of the coronavirus,” Toshio Nakagawa, chairman of the Japan Medical Association, told a news conference on Wednesday, when Japan recorded 1543 new daily infections.
Japan has so far reported 114,400 coronavirus infections and a total of 1884 COVID-19-related deaths.
The US also set a record for new cases for a second consecutive day, reporting more than 144,000 new infections.
People are becoming weary of the coronavirus pandemic but should remain vigilant and continue to take precautions while the world awaits a vaccine, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“We may be tired of COVID-19 but it is not tired of us. European countries are struggling but the virus has not changed significantly, nor the measures to stop it,” Dr Tedros told the Paris Peace Forum on Thursday.
It’s a different story back home.
Victoria has not had such a streak without new cases or deaths since February and the state’s rolling case average is now 0.1.
But the fallout from Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program continues to play out, with Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kym Peake becoming the third key witness to quit.
When questioned at the inquiry, Ms Peake refused to accept deficiencies in the hotel quarantine program stemmed from failures in her department, but expressed “profound regret” over its inability to prevent the state’s devastating second wave of COVID-19.
Her decision to quit comes ahead of the inquiry, headed by former judge Jennifer Coate, handing down its final report by December 21.
The Victorian government announced her resignation on Thursday afternoon, saying she had stepped down to pursue “other opportunities”.