The coronavirus tragedy unfolding in Italy, where medical services are stretched beyond breaking point, is a grim portent of what lies in store for SA unless the spread of the disease is curtailed, and fast.

Despite having one of the best-funded health-care systems in Europe, Italy’s Bergamo region finds itself with patients lining hospital corridors, the army transporting coffins to warehouses, and supplies of vital oxygen running low.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now