An Israeli doctor working in the coronavirus epicentre of northern Italy said medics are no longer allowed to give respirators to anyone aged over 60.
Dr Gal Peleg – who works in Parma, Italy – said artificial respiratory machines are so low in numbers access must be limited.
The coronavirus death toll in Italy’s worst-hit region has surpassed 3,450 in the last 24 hours after a rise of 360 fatalities in Lombardy.
Ministers in Rome were forced to plunge all 60million citizens into lockdown, while ordering all non-essential businesses in the country to shut amid the outbreak.
The pandemic has taken a choke-hold on everyday life, with even Pope Francis retreating indoors to make his weekly address via videolink.
But despite Italy’s clampdown on person-to-person contact, the death toll spiralled yesterday from 739 to 4,825 nationwide, marking the deadliest day for a country in the global pandemic so far.