Coronavirus: 47-year-old paramedic in hard-hit Lombardy region is one of the youngest victims to die in Italy
An Italian paramedic who was working day and night to help coronavirus victims in the country's hard-hit Lombardy region has died from the disease.
Italian media reported how 47-year-old Diego Bianco was suffering from a fever for seven days before he died overnight on Friday at his Montello home that he shared with his wife and son.
The medic was working for the Italian emergency ambulance service in the northern region of Italy -- where over 1,200 people have died from COVID-19 out of over 11,600 cases -- before he was diagnosed with the virus on Thursday.
As soon as Bianco tested positive, his emergency service operations center was sanitized. Meanwhile, his colleagues were told to self-isolate after displaying symptoms associated with the deadly virus.
Diego's co-workers said he was medically fit before his death and noted that his occupation required his health to be "constantly monitored," Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported.
Davide Brescancin, one of his colleagues, subsequently pleaded with state officials to protect paramedics as they are exposed to the novel coronavirus during their shifts.
Speaking to Della Sera, Riccardo Germani -- a spokesman for health union ADL Cobas Lombardia -- said 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," he added.
Italy's coronavirus death toll has reached 1,809 out of the 24,747 cases reported in the country. This makes it the highest number in any country outside mainland China.
The news of Diego's tragic death comes amid reports that Italian coronavirus patients who are 80 or older will not qualify for intensive care if the crisis worsens, as part of emergency contingency plans being proposed in the country.
According to the plans -- drawn up by civil protection officials in Turin -- it would be "necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment" in case the number of patients becomes overwhelming. These criteria "must include age of less than 80," per the document obtained by the Daily Telegraph.