A total of 67 Italian priests infected with the novel coronavirus have died since the pandemic reached the Mediterranean country last month, the Avvenire newspaper said Wednesday.

The youngest of those listed by the Catholic Church-affiliated paper was 53.

“Priests get sick and die like everybody else, maybe even more than the rest,” the Avvenire wrote.

The paper said 22 of the fatalities were in the Bergamo diocese, at the heart of the outbreak not far from the financial centre Milan.

Pope Francis asked priests “to have the courage to go out and see the sick” when the pandemic was gathering strength across the country on March 10.

Meanwhile a priest Father Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, who died early this month in Lovere, Bergamo made the headlines for giving his respirator to a younger coronavirus patient.

He decided to let go his ventilator so the younger patient can survive and he died later.

Italy is the world’s worst affected country with 6,820 deaths so far.

It 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.


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Source: AFP / BBC

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