HomeAnalysisItalian president awards honours to 57 Heroes of Virus Pandemic

Italian president awards honours to 57 Heroes of Virus Pandemic

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has given honours to 57 people who distinguished themselves in the country’s battle against the novel coronavirus.

The 57 were each given the title of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Mattarella’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

One of the awardees was Maurizio Cecconi, an Italian doctor whom the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) hailed in April as one the three global heroes of the pandemic.

Cecconi, head of the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department of Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, “galvanised the world to prepare for the tsunami of COVID-19 disease to come,” JAMA wrote.

Another recipient was Mahmoud Lufti Ghuniem, a Lebanese-born delivery bike rider and former nurse, who bought 1,000 face masks and donated them to the Red Cross.

Awards also went to Irene Coppola, who invented a see-through face mask to allow lip-reading by deaf people, and Alessandro Bellantoni, a taxi driver, who gave a free 1,300-kilometre ride to a 3-year-old girl suffering from cancer.

More honours went to ambulance drivers, nurses, hospital security guards, and cleaners, teachers, nursing home assistants, doctors, scientists, and people, who raised funds or donated to the needy.

“The awards, attributed to individuals, symbolically represent the collective effort of many of our fellow citizens in the name of solidarity and constitutional values,” the presidency said.

Italy is one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, it had reported around 233,500 infections and more than 33,500 deaths from the coronavirus.

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