A priest in Italy has sadly died after sacrificing the opportunity to use a respirator that his parishioners had bought him in favor of a younger patient who he didn’t know.
According to the BBC, Father Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, passed away in hospital in Lovere, Bergamo, located in Lombardy – the epicenter of the most severe and deadly COVID-19 outbreak in the world.
Locals from Casnigo, Bergarmo are believed to have applauded the deceased priest from the windows and balconies of their homes as the coffin was transported to its burial.
The publication also reports that more than 50 Italian priests are thought to have died from coronavirus.
The priests passing was later confirmed by Jesuit priest and editor at America Magazine who tweeted: “Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli, a 72-year-old priest who gave a respirator (that his parishioners had purchased for him), to a younger patient (whom he did not know), has died from #coronavirus.”
In recent days, Italy’s COVID-19 death toll has overtaken that of China, where the deadly outbreak began.
Earlier this month, the Italian government enacted nationwide lockdown measures to help control the spread of the disease. On March 12, most businesses were forced to shut down including bars, restaurants, and shops. Public gatherings were also prohibited from taking place.
But despite the risks, Pope Francis is reportedly urging priests to “have courage and visit the sick.”
At the time of writing, there are currently 63,927 cases in the country and tragically 6,077 people have died from the disease, per the John Hopkins coronavirus tracking map. Worldwide there are currently 382,644 cases, with 16,587 having lost their lives to COVID-19.
Please do familiarize yourself with the symptoms of this deadly disease for your own wellbeing and that of others:
In order to have the best possible chance of fighting the spread of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people regularly and thoroughly wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or clean them with soap and water.
It also recommends keeping a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Furthermore, you should do your best to avoid touching your eyes nose and mouth.