A ‘FIT and healthy’ paramedic has died after contracting coronavirus – becoming one of Italy’s youngest victims.
Diego Bianco, 46, passed away at his family home in Montello after working to help victims in the hard-hit region of Lombardy.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news and updates
He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday and died on Saturday while his wife and eight-year-old son thought he was resting.
The heroic medic from Bergamo – a city about 30 miles from Milan – worked at an emegency 118 operations centre.
Just before he died he reportedly told his wife: “You can go to sleep, my dear. I just need to find a comfortable position to fall asleep.”
She then asked him: “Why, do you think you are going to die?”
After he replied “no” she left him alone but when she returned two hours later he suffered a heart attack, L’Eco Di Bergamo reports.
Diego’s co-workers claimed he was medically fine before his death as his occupation required his health to be constantly monitored.
His colleague Davide Brescancin has now pleaded with the authorities to protect paramedics during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
He said: “The thing that worries us the most is the carelessness with which rescue workers are abandoned to their destiny.
“We don’t know where Diego contracted the virus, we are all wondering the same. Maybe he was not infected at work.
“But the fast and terrible end of Diego could happen to many of us if we do not immediately close everything, establish a quarantine income and stop all types of production.”
Riccardo Germani – a spokesman for health union ADL Cobas Lombardia – told reporters: “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.”
According to the latest statistics, 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.
All shops are now closed, except for pharmacies and those stocking food as part of a nationwide lockdown.
Companies have been ordered to shut non-essential departments and a wide range of venues – from theatres to schools and hairdressers to museums – are also closed.
6Sixty million residents have been told to stay in their homes in “social distancing” measures in order to curb the escalating health crisis.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the country.