30 'fearless' Albanian doctors help virus-hit Italy
About 30 doctors from Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries, were at work in northern Italy on Monday helping overwhelmed hospitals at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the doctors said he was simply following the Hippocratic Oath that medics have taken through the ages vowing to help their colleagues in need.
"In difficult situations, if our fellow (healthcare workers) need help, they must be helped," Ermal Pashaj, a surgeon from a hospital in the Balkan country's capital Tirana, told AFP.
The doctors arrived Monday in Brescia, a city whose COVID-19 death and infection rates have been among the highest in the world for the past month.
Brescia's hospitals have been staffed by chronically overworked doctors and nurses facing a ceaseless flow of critically ill patients.
Dozens of Italian doctors have died from the new disease, many of them in hospitals in and around Brescia.
But Almarin Domi, a nurse at a Tirana state hospital, said he was not scared.
"We're not afraid at all," Domi told AFP after himself getting tested for COVID-19 to make sure he does not spread it to patients.
"For people like me who work in emergency rooms, the word fear does not exist."
Albania, with a population of just under three million, has officially recorded 11 deaths from the novel coronavirus.
Italy has recorded a world-leading 11,591 deaths, more than half of them in Brescia's Lombardy region.