Coronavirus: 37 doctors have died after contracting Covid-19 in Italy

Medics’ deaths are ‘a warning, a lesson for everyone’, says federation

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 26 March 2020 15:04 GMT
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At least 37 doctors have died after contracting coronavirus in Italy.

The National Federation of Orders of Surgeons and Dentists (FNOMCeO) has announced further fatalities as the country’s death toll from Covid-19 continues to rise.

Among the names on a list updated daily are those of GPs, an epidemiologist, a retired doctor, a paediatrician, and specialists.

The federation described the list as “a warning, a lesson for everyone”.

In Italy – where nearly one-tenth of more than 74,000 infections are among medical workers – doctors and nurses have been begging the government to provide more masks, gloves and goggles.

Dr Francesca De Gennaro, who heads up a small private medical clinic in hard-hit Bergamo, where some 90 of 460 workers have tested positive, wrote an open letter asking for equipment.

“Please don’t leave us alone: Help us help you,” she said.

Scientists say stopping just one person from getting the virus means scores of others will not become infected down the road.

Dr Hugh Montgomery, professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, explained how one person can infect 59,000 others – compared to 14 with flu.

Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose by 683 on Wednesday to 7,503.

This was a decline in deaths compared to the previous day which saw a spike of 743 deaths following 602 on Monday and 650 on Sunday.

The country recorded 793 cases on Saturday – the highest daily figure since the pandemic began.

The Federation of Italian Pharmacist Orders (FOFI) has also announced deaths among pharmacists, prompting its president Andrea Mandelli to urge the public to stay inside.

Mr Mandelli said: “Italian pharmacists are playing their role as far as possible, but I have to reiterate a message to citizens: the pharmacy is a health centre in which one must go only for important reasons.

“I also invite you to strictly respect the safety distance and to follow the indications of the staff for the ordered access to the pharmacy premises.

“Basically, I ask citizens to help us assist them in the best way: we can only get out of this emergency with the utmost collaboration of all.”

The Italian government has imposed strict measures to curb the spread of the virus and harsh punishments for those who ignore them.

These include fines and even a up to five years in prison for anyone caught breaking their quarantine after testing positive.

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