The pitiful record in Italy and the heroic Christian priests

Since March 19, Italy has surpassed China, where the pandemic broke out, and became the country with the highest number of deaths from Wuhan pneumonia in the world so far.

By the end of March 21, Italia’s total number of deaths due to the disease reached 4,825 cases, accounting for 38.3% of the world’s deaths.

Italian army truck carrying dead bodies to the crematorium, Bergamo, March 18

The number of 793 deaths on March 21 is the highest death rate a country has recorded in a day since the outbreak.

Italy, a country of 60 million people, has been in a state of blockade since March 12, public gatherings are banned, and most shops are closed.

Observations showed that police marched regularly on the streets of Rome on March 21, checking papers and penalizing people on the streets without a good reason such as buying necessities.

In the face of this emergency, on the night of 21:00 on March 22, 2020, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte decided to stop all unnecessary production activities throughout the territory, while ensuring the necessary goods and services.

The regulation will take effect from Monday March 23, expected to last until April 3. Supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and banks are expected to remain open.
The Italian Prime Minister stressed that the country was in the most serious national crisis since World War II.

Facing the rapidly rising pandemic in Italy, Russia and Cuba have sent experts to help Italy fight the pandemic.

Cuban doctors receive Cuban and Italian flags before going to Italy to help prevent the spread of Wuhan pneumonia in Italy

On March 22, four Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport aircrafts carrying medical experts and equipment to help Italy cope with the Wuhan pneumonia disease landed at Pratica di Mare air base.

The Kremlin earlier said that President Vladimir Putin spoke on March 21 with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

At the phone call, the Russian leader expressed his support and offer of assistance to Italy by means of mobile disinfectants and experts to help the areas most affected by the inflammatory pandemic in Italy.

Cuba has also helped Italy deal with the pandemic. With a 52-member team of doctors, Cuba sent an emergency assistance team to Italy for the first time.

Doctors to Italy are the sixth medical group sent by Cuba to foreign countries in recent days to help control the spread of Wuhan pneumonia. Earlier, Cuban doctors were dispatched to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada.

Since the 1959 revolution, Cuba has repeatedly sent “white-coat armies” to disaster-stricken areas around the world, mostly poor countries. Cuban doctors have accumulated extensive experience in the fight against cholera in Haiti and the ebola epidemic in West Africa in the 2000s.

Earlier, on March 12, China sent a team of medical experts and equipment to Italy to assist the Southern European nation in the fight against Wuhan pneumonia. Information about China’s assistance also caused mixed reactions in Italy.

By March 10, Italy was the country with the highest mortality rate outside of China.

At the urgent request of the Italian Red Cross, the Chinese Red Cross established a pandemic prevention team to Italy.

The plane, which brought a team of experts and medical equipment from China to support Italy against Wuhan pneumonia, landed at Fiumicino International Airport in Rome on March 12.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese team of experts was dispatched to support Italy with nine members. The Airbus A350 also carries tons of equipment to support Italy in responding to Wuhan pneumonia

However, as reported, the Italian media suspected it to be “fake news” and said that thousands of Taiwanese oxygen tanks and tens of thousands of masks were all purchased by Italy, which was just a trade deal between China and Italy.

Maurizio Gasparri, a member of the Italian Senate and former communications minister, severely criticized the Chinese Communist Party for spreading rumors and false propaganda, and declared “China is basically the world virus.”

Earlier, a team of Chinese experts went to Tehran on March 7 to help Iran fight an outbreak, when the number of confirmed cases in Iran increased by more than 50% overnight. According to the South China Morning Post, China also sent a pandemic control team to Iraq at the same time.
Accompanying the pious lambs in the mortal moments of the Wuhan pneumonia in the hospital, many Christian priests became infected and died.

Pope Francis encouraged Italian Catholic priests to go out and come to the sick. Visit the hospital’s intensive care unit, where priests were exposed and prayed for the most serious cases of Wuhan pneumonia.

While performing their sacred mission, helping those who need spiritual support, many priests became infected.

Last Friday and Saturday alone (March 20-21), 10 priests died. The majority are elderly priests, who are at high risk of death from infection.

According to the Avvenire newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference until March 19, at least 28 priests died from Wuhan pneumonia and two cases: Father Guido Mortari died of pneumonia before being tested and Fr Giorgio Bosini, who had a dangerous underlying disease.

More than half of the priests who die are over 80 years old. The youngest of these priests, Father Andrea Avanzini of the diocese of Parma, died at the age of 54.
The diocese with the most priests who died of the disease is Bergamo Diocese (11 priests have died while 15 are still being treated at the hospital; Parma diocese has 6 priests victims of the disease, Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio and Diocese of Milan have 3 priests died). Other dioceses whose priests died from infection were Cremona, Lodi, Brescia, Casale Monferrato and Tortona.
Pope Francis, Vatican and the Catholic Church in Italy have recently adjusted many hundred-year-old traditions to join people in stopping the pandemic of Wuhan pneumonia.

When the whole of Lombardy was quarantined, the Italian Bishops’ Conference decided to stop mass liturgical celebrations, including Mass, funeral rites, previously performed in the church will simply celebrate outside the cemetery.

The Roman Catholic Church announces that the Feast of the Resurrection and Holy Week of Pope Francis in April will be held secretly. The move is considered unprecedented in the Vatican in modern history.
Earlier, the pope had already expressed communion with Italy, so he did not have direct meetings with pilgrims. In order to avoid the gathering of many people in St. Peter’s Square, one would recite the Bible at April 12 noon on Sunday, or the general Wednesday morning meeting on the square would be fine streamed live on the Internet from his own library.

On the afternoon of March 15, Pope Francis left the Vatican to attend a ceremony at the Cathedral of Santa Maria, praying for the end of the pandemic without announcing the schedule in advance. The head of the Catholic Church then travels along one of the main roads of Rome, Italy, from the Basilica of Santa Maria to St. Peter’s Church. Marcello.
There, the pope prayed before a cross used at a Mass in 1522 when a pandemic broke out in Rome. Pope Francis also offered prayers to the sick, their families, health workers, and workers who are working hard to keep pharmacies and grocery stores throughout Italy running.

Many priests of the Catholic Church represented by priests have tried their best to work together with Italy to fight the disease.

Amid all difficulties, the Church tries – despite the curfew and the risk of infection – to get close to the patients. A typical face is priest Aquilino Apassiti, 84 years old. He is a priest who cares for patients at Bergamos Giovanni XXIII Hospital.

In a few telephone interviews, he described the tragic situation today: “Patients die alone and no one can come to let them say goodbye.”

In the hospital, the priest had to wear a protective mask. It was a big limitation for him, because he “could not even give the patient a smile“. Due to the strict guard regulations, he could do nothing more than say a few brief short consoling words.

Italy has been going through painful moments. But with the optimism inherent in the spiritual sharing of heroic priests, the country hailed as “Beautiful Life” will overcome this difficult period.

Trung Nam from Da nang – (translated)