‘We have to do it quickly’: Italy aims to complete new southern hospital in under 400 days

'We have to do it quickly': Italy aims to complete new southern hospital in under 400 days
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (4th from left) with local government officials in Taranto on Monday. Photo: Regione Puglia press office
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday visited the construction site of a planned new hospital for the city of Taranto, which is set to be built far quicker than originally planned.
“We have to do it on time, we have to do it quickly. It doesn't need to take two years, three years, four years, five years for a project in Italy,” said Conte, during a ceremony to mark the start of work on the new San Cataldo hospital in the southern city, Italian media reports.
 
The group of local companies commissioned to deliver the project aim to have it completed in just 399 working days – compared to the planned 1,245 days set out in the tender – by working day and night over three shifts.
 

 
The prime minister said the rapid hospital building project was “like the Genoa Bridge”, which was rebuilt in under a year following a deadly collapse in heavy rain in 2018.
 
 
The urgently-needed new bridge was inaugurated in August 2020, after work began in October 2019 – and continued day and night throughout Italy's strict lockdown.
 
 
The new Genoa bridge on the day of its inauguration. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
 
Conte has repeatedly spoken of the need to “regenerate” and “build a better Italy”, and said his administration aims to improve infrastructure across the country as it set out a plan to use a 207-billion-euro European recovery fund.
 
Many parts of southern Italy have long lacked adequate healthcare provisions after years of under-investment and corruption scandals.
 
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The problems were highlighted earlier this year as hospitals in the south scrambled to prepare for potential outbreaks of coronavirus infections locally.
 
However, even better-funded hospitals in wealthier northern regions struggled to cope during the peak of the outbreak in Italy,
 
While the majority of cases and deaths have so far been recorded in northern Italy, the infection rate in recent weeks appears to be rising in some southern regions, particularly in Campania.

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