An Italian paramedic has died from coronavirus after working to help victims in the country’s hard-hit Lombardy region.
Diego Bianco, 46, passed away overnight on Friday at the home he shared with his wife and his son in Montello after suffering from a fever for seven days, Italian media has reported.
The healthcare specialist – who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday – worked for the Italian emergency ambulance service in the northern region of Italy, where over 1,200 people have died from the virus out of over 11,600 cases.
Following his diagnosis, his emergency service operations centre was sanitised, and some of his colleagues have been instructed to self-isolate after experiencing symptoms associated with coronavirus.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Diego’s co-workers claimed he was medically fine before his death and said his occupation required his health to be ‘constantly monitored’.
His colleague Davide Brescancin has pleaded with authorities to protect paramedics as they’re exposed to COVID-19 during their shifts.
Riccardo Germani – a spokesman for health union ADL Cobas Lombardia – told the publication: ‘Diego was a trained worker, a rescuer who has always used personal protective equipment, was not elderly and did not have any other diseases.
‘He was one of the 700 health workers, doctors, nurses and rescuers who have already been infected.’
As of today, there has been a total of 1,809 deaths out of 24,747 cases of coronavirus in Italy – the most anywhere outside of mainland China.
The news came after it was reported that Italian coronavirus patients who are 80 or older will not receive intensive care if the crisis worsens, under emergency plans being proposed in Turin.
The plans drawn up by civil protection officials warn that ‘it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment’ if there are too many patients.
The document, seen by the Daily Telegraph, proposes that these criteria ‘must include age of less than 80’.
Doctors have already described making life-or-death decisions about who can be treated and who may effectively be left to die. One doctor said a patient’s fate ‘is decided by age and by health conditions’, adding: ‘This is how it is in a war.’
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte warned today that the country is entering its ‘riskiest weeks’ as he signalled that ‘we have not yet reached the peak’.
A patient’s other health conditions will also be taken into account when beds in intensive care are allocated, according to the planning document.
Doctors will also consider whether they are likely to recover from resuscitation if they are taken to hospital in an emergency.
‘Should it become impossible to provide all patients with intensive care services, it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment, which depends on the limited resources available,’ the document says.
Officials acknowledge that the plans will force hospitals to ‘focus on those cases in which the cost/benefit ratio is more favorable for clinical treatment’.
Italian medics have already described how hospitals have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the health crisis, with Italy suffering the worst outbreak in Europe.
Coronavirus was classed as pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week. At least 170,000 people around the world have been infected and over 6,400 have died since the outbreak began last December.
Countries across the world are taking measures to halt the spread of coronavirus, with Italian automobile company announcing today that it is suspending production across most of its European plants through to March 27.
The European country implemented a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak last week.
The Italian-American carmaker is closing six plants in Italy that make cars under the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati nameplates as well as a plant in Serbia that makes the Fiat 500L and in Poland that makes the Fiat 500.
The virus has been spreading between humans since February 28, the WHO has admitted. Sporting events, music festival and other social gatherings have been either cancelled or postponed due to the crisis.
The killer coronavirus rapidly spreading across the globe can survive in the air for three hours, scientists have found.
US government researchers, who worked with other experts, also found the deadly infection can live on surfaces for up to three days.