A CORONAVIRUS care home “massacre” is being probed by the Italian police after 190 people died amid claims staff were banned from wearing masks.
The Pio Albergo Trivulzio nursing home in Milan – the largest facility of its kind in Italy – is under investigation.
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Prosecutors launched a probe as care staff allege bosses told them to not wear protective gear for fear of alarming the home's residents.
The deaths have been branded a “massacre” amid the coronavirus pandemic – which has claimed more than 22,000 lives in Italy.
Staff have claimed management downplayed the risk of infection and wrongly attributed causes of death.
The home denies any wrong doing, and has said it followed all security protocols and is cooperating with investigators.
Police seized the home’s records on Monday after Lombardy’s govenour Attilio Fontana opened an inquiry.
Relatives are also demanding answers as Italy continues to reel from the outbreak, being the second worst impacted nation in the world after the US.
A group called the Committee for Justice and Truth for Victims of Trivulzio is organising relatives who are considering legal action.
La Repubblica reports the home’s supply of masks was taken to be given to “those who really needed them”.
Alessandro Azzoni, whose 76-year-old mum is at the home, said: "The situation in the home is completely out of control and the people inside are either sick or not yet sick, but they’re not being cared for in the way they need to be."
Another angry relative Teresa Fusco said her dad caught coronavirus in the home, saying "staff said it was impossible".
Photos have emerged of nine bodies in the home’s mortuary and the chapel filled with coffins, published by La Repubblica.
Rossella Delcuratolo, from the CISL union, claims about 200 staff have been infected with coronavirus.
She also claims 17 patients from hospitals were transferred to the care home in March to free up beds – bringing with them the coronavirus.
Ms Delcuratolo told The Guardian: “It’s a massacre that could have been avoided if they had listened – on March 11 I asked for all staff to wear face masks, but it didn’t happen.”
Deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri told Radio Capital the military police’s health squad will be gathering evidence.
Italian authorities fear the nation – which has 23 per cent of its population over the age of 65 – has large numbers of unaccounted for coronavirus deaths across nursing homes.
Some 600 other care homes across Italy are also under investigation of high levels of deaths.
Italy has the highest death toll in Europe – but authorities believe they have passed the peak and are now beginning to ease lockdown measures.
Wider containment measures will be in place until at least May 3 amid fears of a second wave.
The government is considering a seven-day work week to help jump start the economy after the crisis.
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