Health Minister Nadine Dorries has been accused by the Italian embassy in the UK of spreading fake news about coronavirus after claiming that Italy had stopped intubating patients over 60.
In a now-deleted tweet, Dorries wrote: “Sobering @itvnews Italy has stopped intubating patients over 60.
“All ICU patients on ventilators are below 60 and not one has been weaned back off to breathe independently. We must follow the advice on social distancing if we are to crack this #coronavirus.”
— Italy in UK (@ItalyinUK) March 20, 2020
But in response to the message, the Italian Embassy in the UK tweeted: “@NadineDorries this is Fake News. We urge you to deny it immediately.
“Italian Health System staff have been working round the clock to save “all” human lives”.
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According to mapping by Johns Hopkins University, there have been more deaths due to coronavirus than any other country, at 3,405.
Confirmed cases stand at 41,035, with 4,440 recoveries.
Dorries, who is MP for Mid Bedfordshire, has previously confirmed that she has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating at home.
Writing in the Sunday Times, she said the news she had contracted the coronavirus was like “iced water trickling down my spine”.
She wrote: “I stopped listening for a second as the thought flew through my mind: my mum is going to get it and it’s my fault. I had brought Covid-19 home from Westminster and had unwittingly passed it on to her.
“It felt as though the clocks had stopped. I knew that everything was about to change and I wanted to hold time where it stood.”
She said her symptoms included a persistent cough, achy muscles and intermittent night sweats.
Ms Dorries, best known by many for her stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, advised people to think of everything as being contaminated.
She said: “Every lift button, shopping-trolley handle, wait-button on a zebra crossing – and every cup in a cafe. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Carry hand-sanitiser and use it over and over. Resist the urge to hug or shake hands with anyone.”