Italian nurse commits suicide as another 683 people die from coronavirus

More than 5,000 Italian health workers have been infected with the coronavirus

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A mural dedicated to all Italian medical workers depicting a nurse cradling Italy and reading 'To All Of You... Thank You!', on a wall of Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, near Milan
A mural dedicated to all Italian medical workers depicting a nurse cradling Italy and reading 'To All Of You... Thank You!', on a wall of Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, near Milan Credit: Getty

The tragic extent of Italy’s medical emergency was thrown into stark relief when it emerged that a nurse committed suicide after being traumatised by her experience in trying to save lives.

Daniela Trezzi, 34, was left deeply upset by what she had seen on the frontlines of the battle against the virus.

She was working in the intensive care unit of San Gerardo Hospital in Monza in Lombardy, the region that has been worst affected by the pandemic.

Calling the suicide “a terrible episode”, the federation said: “What Daniela had witnessed recently had contributed heavily….it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The federation initially said the nurse had tested positive to coronavirus and was mortified that she may have infected others, but that was denied last night by the hospital director.

The federation noted that another nurse committed suicide in Venice a week ago and warned that “in these stressful conditions, these may not be the last”.

Italy announced that another 683 people died of the virus on Wednesday, bringing the total death toll to 7,503. That was down from the 743 people who died on Tuesday.

Carabinieri military police officers use a drone to monitor people who are not at home in the Scampia neighbourhood of Naples Credit: Reuters

The total number of confirmed cases in Italy jumped by 5,200 to nearly 75,000, most of them in the north of the country. Nearly 10,000 people have fully recovered.

More than 5,000 Italian health workers have been infected with the coronavirus, with unions saying that doctors and nurses urgently needed more protection equipment. Around 30 doctors have died, including some who came out of retirement to help out exhausted hospital staff.

Angelo Borrelli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, a key figure in the country’s campaign against the virus, came down with a fever and was being tested.

The Catholic Church has also been hard hit by the pandemic – 67 priests have died since last month. The youngest was 53.

Earlier this month Pope Francis appealed to clergy "to have the courage to go out and see the sick" despite the risk of priests contracting the virus themselves.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the contagion in Italy could peak this week and then begin to decline.

"The slowing in the pace of growth is an extremely positive factor, and in some regions I believe we are close to the drop-off point of the curve, therefore the peak may be reached this week and then fall away," Ranieri Guerra, WHO’s deputy director, told Italian radio.

"I believe that this week and the first days of the next will be decisive because they will be moments in which the government's (lockdown) measures of 15-20 days ago should find an effect.”

A small town in the southern region of Puglia used hay bales to block access to outsiders, saying it has had no infections and wants to remain that way.

“We used the material at our disposal. We don’t have many road barriers so we resorted to the raw materials of our community," said Giovanni Campese, the mayor of Monteleone di Puglia.