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HEALTH

More than 100 doctors have now died in Italy’s coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus death toll among Italian doctors reached 100 on Thursday as four more physicians died in the past 24 hours, the Italian doctors' federation FNOMCEO said.

More than 100 doctors have now died in Italy's coronavirus outbreak
A doctor on a ward for coronavirus patients at a hospital in Turin. Photo: AFP
“The number of doctors who have died because of COVID-19 is 100 – perhaps even 101 at the moment, unfortunately,” a FNOMCeO spokesman told AFP.
 
Italian media reports estimate that 30 nurses and nursing assistance have
also died of COVID-19.

The toll includes retired doctors who had voluntarily returned to work during the outbreak.

They were among some 8,000 medical staff to volunteer last month for an emergency coronavirus task force.

Some hospitals in Lombardy and other badly-hit areas are struggling with half as many staff as needed to treat the number of patients being admitted, Il Messeggero reported.
 
 
According to the offical list most of these victims worked in and around Lombardy, the region at the centre of the Italian outbreak – although doctors have also died further south in Le Marche, Campania, Sicily and Puglia.

In total 13,121 healthcare workers have contracted the new coronavirus in Italy, according to the latest count by the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS). 

“We can longer allow our doctors, our health workers, to be sent to fight without any protection against the virus,” FNOMCeO president Filippo Anelli said on the association's website.
 
Rome's ISS public health institute estimates that 10 percent of those infected with the novel coronavirus in Italy work in health care.
 
Italy's total official death toll is at 17,669 as of Thursday evening.

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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