Coronavirus: Italian priest dies after giving his respirator to younger patient he did not know

Tuesday 24th March 2020 11:30 GMT

Friar Don Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, was the priest for the parish of Casnigo, a small village just 40 miles north east of Milan.

He died in hospital in Lovere, Bergamo, one of the worst-hit areas in Italy.

According to the hospital, he refused to use a respirator his parishioners had bought for him, and instead gave it to a younger patient he did not know.

In an obituary on Araberara, an Italian news website, one healthcare worker said: "He was a priest who listened to everyone, he knew how to listen, whoever turned to him knew that he could count on his help."

Clara Poli, who had been mayor of Fiorano for some years, described the priest as a "great person".

She told the news publication: "I remember him on his old Guzzi motorbike, he loved his motorbike, and when he was seen passing by he was always cheerful and full of enthusiasm, he gave peace and joy to our communities.

"He does not leave us alone, from up there he watches over us and continues to run through the clouds with his motorcycle, who knows how many projects he is doing up there, also for us."

As Bergamo is one of the worst-hit areas in the world for COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus, no funeral was held for Friar Berardelli.

Instead people stood on their balconies at noon on 16 March and gave him a round of applause.

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On 9 March, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a national quarantine after the virus spread dramatically in the space of a few weeks.

More people have died after testing positive from coronavirus in Italy than anywhere else in the world - despite the stringent lockdown measures in place.

A total of 6,077 people have died in Italy after contracting the illness, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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