Italian victims aged over 80 may be denied intensive care under drastic measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports.
A crisis management unit in Turin has prepared a document to determine which patients receive care.
The document, seen by The Telegraph, outlines what will happen if there are insufficient spaces.
The paper, put together by the civil protection department in the Piedmont, reads: "The criteria for access to intensive therapy in cases of emergency must include age of less than 80 or a score on the Charlson comorbidity Index (which indicates how many other medical conditions the patient has) of less than 5."
The plan measures a patient's ability to recover from the disease.
It continues: "The growth of the current epidemic makes it likely that a point of imbalance between the clinical needs of patients with COVID-19 and the effective availability of intensive resources will be reached.
"Should it become impossible to provide all patients with intensive care services, it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment, which depends on the limited resources available.
"The criteria set out guidelines if the situation becomes of such an exceptional nature as to make the therapeutic choices on the individual case dependent on the availability of resources, forcing (hospitals) to focus on those cases in which the cost/benefit ratio is more favourable for clinical treatment."
However, earlier today it emerged a doctor in Australia claimed his team may have found a cure for the disease.
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Professor David Paterson hopes to have people enrolled on a trial by the end of the month.
He said: "It's a 'potentially effective treatment' that should be considered for a large scale medical trial immediately.
"What we want to do at the moment is a large clinical trial across Australia, looking at 50 hospitals, and what we're going to compare is one drug, versus another drug, versus the combination of the two drugs."
Around the world, there have been more than 169,000 cases and over 6,500 deaths.
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