A MEDICAL chief in Italy who had been dealing with the coronavirus has died of the disease aged 67, it emerged today.
Roberto Stella is the latest casualty of the virus that has so far killed more than 1,000 people in the country.
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Stella, head of the medical association in Italian region of Varese, died on Tuesday night in Como, Northern Italy.
According to the National Federation of Doctors and General Practitioners, he was hospitalised with respiratory failure following his diagnosis with the coronavirus.
In a statement released by Italy's National Federation of Doctors and General Practitioners, the organisation praised Stella's contributions to fighting the deadly virus.
It read: "He was the example of the capability and hard work of family doctors.
“His death represents the outcry of all colleagues who still today are not equipped with the proper individual protection needed."
The tragic news comes as the total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the deadly bug, rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462.
That marked the biggest daily rise since the virus reached Italy on February 21.
Some blood banks around the country are also running low, as the Regional Department of Health in Lazio urged people to donate, La Repubblica reported.
The Civil Protection Agency said, of those originally infected, 1,258 had fully recovered compared to 1,045 the day before.
Some 1,153 people were in intensive care against a previous 1,028.
The country was put under an unprecedented lockdown on Monday in a desperate attempt to control the spread of coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Italy took the drastic step to close all shops except pharmacies and food outlets.
Hairdressers and beauty parlours have closed, along with bars and restaurants that cannot guarantee they can keep a distance of at least one metre between customers.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told the BBC the measures imposed in the first area in the north of the country were proving effective.
He said: "Italy was the first nation in Europe to be affected so badly. But I hope it also means that Italy is the first one to leave the emergency behind.
"Our grandfathers were drafted to go to war; we're being asked to stay at home."
As the outbreak in China begins to ease, the government in Beijing is sending Italy teams of specialist doctors and supplies.
Meanwhile it was revealed tonight that 121 Juventus staff members, including players, directors and other employees are now in self-isolation.
The World Health Organisation yesterday declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
As well as Italy, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia put blocks on gatherings and movement.
In the UK, Boris Johnson yesterday described coronavirus as "the worst public health crisis for a generation" as set out measures that could "cause severe disruption" for many months.
Mr Johnson said anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, such as a continuous cough or high temperature, must now stay at home for seven days.
He said school trips abroad should be stopped, while people over 70 with serious medical conditions should not go on cruises.
But Mr Johnson said there was no need to close schools now as the scientific advice "is that this could do more harm than good".
But just yesterday, an ex-NHS doctor trapped in Italy’s coronavirus lockdown begged the UK to “shut down everything” in the “war” against the killer bug.
It came as two more deaths were announced in British hospitals and the number of people in the UK who have officially tested positive for coronavirus reached 596.
Ten people have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus.
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