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Italy loses more than 100 doctors to virus; lockdown set to continue

Italy on Thursday recorded the 100th death among doctors from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, and prepared for a further extension of lockdown measures.

Italy on Thursday recorded the 100th death among doctors from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, and prepared for a further extension of lockdown measures.

Doctors’ association Fnomceo said a 62-year-old woman who was a family doctor in the Venice province was the 100th victim. It later announced five more deaths, bringing the total to 105.

Italy has been overwhelmed by the deadliest coronavirus epidemic in the world, and medical staff in and outside hospitals are known to have braved it without adequate protection like gloves and masks.

On Saturday, Carlo Palermo, head of the Anaao Assomed doctors’ trade union, spoke of around 120 COVID-19 deaths among medical staff, including 80 doctors and 40 nurses, paramedics, and care workers.

“Each victim has left a deep scar on the skin and on the heart of each Italian doctor,” Fnomceo President Filippo Anelli said in a statement.

“The organizational shortcomings and omissions are difficult to understand and even more difficult to justify in light of these tragic numbers,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Civil Protection Agency reported an uptick in the daily tally of COVID-19 deaths to 610, from 542 on Wednesday.

The overall number of fatalities from the epidemic reached 18,279.

There were 4,204 new infections, bringing the total to 143,626, with a daily increase of 3 percent. It was this week’s highest percentage change, but lower than previously recorded values.

The number of people declared recovered from the disease jumped by 1,979 to 28,470, and patients under intensive care fell for a sixth straight day, by 88 to 3,605.

Italy has been under lockdown since March 10, and current restrictions are valid until April 13, but the government is expected to prolong them for at least another couple of weeks.

“If scientists agree, we could start easing some measures already by the end of this month,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in an interview with dpa.

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