When the reports of a deadly virus that was about to hit the world broke out in January this year, little did we know that it would be more devastating and deadly than what the world witnessed during World War 1 and World War 11. Within few weeks the new virus which started in Wuhan China from where the first-initial given name “Wuhan-coronavirus was derived from before WHO renaming of the virus as coronavirus and later COVID-19 had infected and killed thousands of people.
Italy and Spain are among the countries outside China that were more affected and impacted by the disease which the WHO described as pandemic. A 72-year Catholic priest – Don Giuseppe Berardelli who died on Sunday in Italy became one of the victims of coronavirus. Rev. Father Berardelli today is being referred to as “Martyr of Charity” for refusing a respirator so a younger patient could use it to ward off the coronavirus.
Fr. Berardelli died at a hospital in Lovere after he lent medical equipment his parishioners bought for him to a stranger.
“He is a ‘Martyr of Charity,’ a saint like St. Maximilian Kolbe, who in Auschwitz volunteered to take the place of a condemned man with a family, and was killed,” James Martin, Jesuit Journal America editor, tweeted.
“Don Giuseppe Berardelli, patron of those who suffer from coronavirus and all who care for them, pray for us!” he added.
Araberara, an Italian newspaper reported that Fr. Berardelli already had health problems before he tested positive for COVID-19.. A shortage of ventilators has become a problem not only in Italy, but around the world. Berardelli requested the patient’s information be kept confidential.
At least 50 priests have reportedly been killed by coronavirus in Italy.
The world’s worst affected country with 6,077 deaths so far, Italy has been under prolonged lockdown as it tries to stop the spread of infections from the worst-hit northern region of Lombardy.
Coronavirus has been spreading rapidly across the globe, affecting more than 160 countries and claiming more than 16,000 lives.
There are more than 360,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Europe is now at the epicentre of the crisis and the US is facing a surge in cases.
Italy shut down most businesses and banned public gatherings nationwide on 12 March as it tried to halt the spread of the virus.
Bars, restaurants and most shops have closed, as have schools and universities.
The lockdown has been extended, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said it has helped prevent “the collapse of the system”.
Italy has 63,927 people with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. So far it has reported 6,077 deaths and 7,432 people who have been discharged from hospital after recovering.
But the number infected could be far higher. Angelo Borrelli, Italy’s civil protection chief, told newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday it was “credible” to estimate the numbers are 10 times higher in reality.