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Italian doctor dies of coronavirus after working without gloves due to shortage

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A woman wears a protective mask as she rides in a tram, in Rome, Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
A woman wears a protective mask as she rides in a tram, in Rome, Wednesday, March 18, 2020.   -   Copyright  Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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A 57-year-old doctor who tested positive for coronavirus and who was working in a hospital in the town of Codogno has died.

Marcello Natali had been hospitalised in Cremona before being transferred to Milan after developing double pneumonia. In one of the last interviews he gave before he was tested for COVID-19, he told Euronews that he had had to work without gloves: "They have run out," he said.

He also said that in Codogno and a nearby town, Casale, 14 out of 35 doctors were in quarantine or hospitalised as of February 28.

"We weren't prepared for coronavirus: as doctors of the post antibiotic era, we grew up thinking that a pill against everything was enough," he said.

Natali's death was confirmed by a representative of the Italian Federation of General Practitioners, who said that he too was suffering from double pneumonia because of the coronavirus.

"It's a war," he said.

Paola Pedrini, regional secretary at the federation, told Euronews that 110 doctors out of 600 in the sole province of Bergamo are sick.

"The situation has not gotten better since end of February. We received some mask, some gloves kit, nothing else. A mask that should last half-a-day, here lasts a week."

"We practice a lot over the phone, when possible, to avoid the spread of the virus and getting in contact with asymptomatic people who still carry the virus"

Italy announced a record daily death toll of 475 on Wednesday, bringing the number of dead in the country to 2,978, with almost 36,000 confirmed cases.

Many European countries have struggled to find enough gloves, medical masks and items such as hand sanitiser in stories as demand is intensified by panic buying.

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