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Selfless Italian priest, 72, dies of coronavirus after giving respirator to younger patient

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An elderly Catholic priest reportedly died from the COVID-19 coronavirus after refusing a ventilator so that a younger patient could use it instead.

Don Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, died March 15 at a hospital in Lovere, Italy after declining to use the medical equipment that his parishioners were said to have bought for him.

Berardelli was a beloved figure well known for helping those with financial problems, as well as for riding on a motorcycle, according to Italian paper Araberara.

He was praised on English language social media on Monday after news of his apparent sacrifice began to surface.

“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,” prominent Jesuit priest James Martin tweeted.

“Don Giuseppe Berardelli, patron of those who suffer from coronavirus and all who care for them, pray for us!”

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, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 24, 2020

Berardelli was one of more than 6,000 Italians who are now confirmed to have died from the virus. The country has experienced the most COVID-19 deaths of anywhere in the world, recently surpassing and now nearly doubling the total in China, despite having about 17,000 fewer cases as of Monday.

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At least six priests including Berardelli reportedly died of the virus over the course of one week in the northern Italian province of Bergamo, with at least 14 more hospitalized. The province is one of many that have been hit hard during the pandemic, stretching hospitals past their capacity and causing essential medical equipment like ventilators to be in short supply.

“The massive arrival of patients becomes impossible to manage,” Mirco Nacoti, a doctor at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, told The Washington Post. “The health system is totally destroyed. Nobody has seen a similar situation. It’s a catastrophe.”

Although it’s not clear who ended up using the ventilator that was originally allocated to Berardelli, the act could have saved the younger patient’s life. Those suffering from severe forms COVID-19 are typically struck with pneumonia which makes it difficult or impossible to breathe without the mechanical assistance the equipment provides.

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Shortages of ventilators have become apparent around the world as the virus continues to spread. In the United States, confirmed cases topped 46,000 on Monday, with the number of new cases growing dramatically each day. Experts worry that the health care system will soon be overwhelmed, and the country’s limited number of ventilators could pose serious problems.

“If you don’t have enough ventilators… people who need it will not be able to get it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on March 15. “My colleagues in Italy… they’re making very tough decisions. Hopefully we never get to that point. They are there, it’s terrible, you don’t want to be in a position to have to make those choices.”

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COVID-19: Osun relaxes curfew, asks workers to resume

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COVID-19: Osun relaxes curfew, asks workers to resume

Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Thursday, announced a new set of guidelines that would guide the second phase of the gradual reopening of the state’s economy, following the lockdown imposed by the government in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said all major markets would remain shut, while other markets would be opened but operators must ensure physical distancing and use their face masks, including observing all other precautionary measures in accordance with the established protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The governor had, on Wednesday, ordered the reopening of worship centres, but insisted that adherents of the two religions would only enjoy one hour of worship each on Friday and Sunday respectively, effective Friday, June 5, 2020.

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Apart from the reopening of mosques and churches, the governor has further relaxed the curfew earlier imposed on the state. The new curfew will now be from 9 pm to 5 am daily.

He, however, noted that these new measures would be for just two weeks in the first instance, just as he reiterated that the state’s boundaries remain closed.

READ ALSO: On the run COVID-19 patients worry FG

In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ismail Omipidan, the governor noted that the total lockdown earlier imposed on the state from Friday to Sunday has now been eased for the next 14 days in the first instance.

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He was, however, quick to add that, notwithstanding the easing of the lockdown, the ban on political, public, religious and any kind of gatherings under whatever guise remains in force.

The governor while thanking the people of the state for their support and cooperation during the period of the lockdown, also enjoined them to ensure the new measures on the gradual reopening of the economy are strictly adhered to.

He added that it was imperative to do that so that the state does not lose the gains it has so far recorded in the fight against the deadly coronavirus in Osun.

Oyetola also urged religious leaders to constantly remind their followers that the fight against COVID-19 is not over and all hands must be on deck to support the fight against the pandemic.

“As you are all aware, the Federal Government a few days ago lifted the ban on religious activities in the country. We have, therefore, lifted ours too after our meeting with religious leaders on Wednesday with specific guidelines.

“In furtherance to that, we have also further relaxed our curfew, as part of measures for the gradual reopening of our economy. Civil Servants on level 7 and above should go to work within normal office hours, while each department should work out and alternate working hours for workers on grade levels 1 to 6,” the governor was quoted to have said.

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On the run COVID-19 patients worry FG

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government was disturbed by COVID-19 patients, who were fleeing isolation centres. This, he said, had worsened the transmission of the virus in communities.

The health minister said the government had problems in trying to convince some COVID-19 positive people that they had the virus.

He said,

“We also have issues with people who test positive and think you are going to look for them and then they run. So the figures don’t tally because people who think you are going to trace them don’t want to go into isolation.”

The health minister explained that the Federal Ministry of Health team sent to investigate the incidents in Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa, Borno, Katsina and Gombe had concluded its work and would submit its final report on Friday (today).

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Meanwhile, confirmed cases of coronavirus have increased to 11,516 in Nigeria.

This is after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced 350 new cases of COVID-19 in the country.

The NCDC made the announcement via its Twitter handle on Thursday.

It said,

“On the 4th of June 2020, 350 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

“No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

“To date, 11516 cases have been confirmed, 3535 cases have been discharged and 323 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 350 new cases are reported from 20 states- Lagos (102), Ogun (34), FCT (29), Borno (26), Kaduna (23), Rivers (21), Kwara (16), Ebonyi (17), Katsina (14), Edo (10), Delta (10), Kano (10), Bauchi (10), Bayelsa (9), Imo (8), Plateau (4), Ondo (3), Nasarawa (2), Gombe (1), Oyo (1).”

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Coronavirus

70 health workers test positive for coronavirus in Ghana

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Seventy health workers in Ghana’s central region have tested positive for coronavirus, according to health authorities.

The country has recorded over 8,000 confirmed cases of the disease, 38 deaths and more than 3,000 recoveries.

The infected health workers are said to be asymptomatic, which means they have not shown symptoms of the virus.

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The authorities say some of them did not adhere to safety protocols and got infected from the community.

The central region in southern Ghana has recorded over 400 cases of the virus, and 70 of them are health workers.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has eased restrictions on religious gatherings and has opened schools for final year students despite a rise in cases. But Ghana’s borders remain closed indefinitely.

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