Italian 101-year-old leaves hospital after recovering from coronavirus

A 101-year-old man in Rimini is back at home with his family on Friday after beating the infection, in the latest report of an elderly patient surviving the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Italian 101-year-old leaves hospital after recovering from coronavirus
Medical staff treat coronavirus patients at a hospital in Brescia, Lombardy. Photo: AFP

The man, identified only as “Mr. P” by authorities, was born during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1919.

Rimini's vice mayor Gloria Lisi told local media on Thursday that the 101-year-old was discharged from hospital in Rimini's and returned home after fighting off the infection in hospital.

“Last week Mr. P. was hospitalised in Rimini after testing positive for Covid 19,” she said.

“One detail that makes the life of this person truly extraordinary,” she added, “is that Mr. P. was born in 1919, in the midst of another tragic world pandemic “.“

The Spanish flu was an unusually deadly pandemic that killed tens of millions of people around the world between 1918 and 1920. At least 600,000 people in Italy are estimated to have been killed during the outbreak.

READ ALSO: Before coronavirus, Italy had a long history of fighting disease outbreaks 

“At 101 years, he lived almost entirely through the past century and then had a glimpse of the new millennium. He has seen everything: war, hunger, pain, progress, crisis and resurrections,” she said. “And then at the age of over 100 years, fate brought him this new challenge, invisible and terrible at the same time.”

Lisi added that, as word spread of the man's condition, hospital staff felt a “desperate need” to ensure his recovery.

“When the tragic news reports tell us daily of a virus that is dangerous above all to the elderly, there is hope for all of us in the story of a person of this age,” Lisi said.

“And Mr. P. made it. His family brought him home on Wednesday evening. It shows that even at 101 years old, your fate is not written.”

Though the fatality rate jumps sharply for patients in their 70s and over, there have been numerous stories of elderly Italians making a full recovery after being hospitalised with the virus.

In Brescia, in the worst-hit region of Lombardy, the family of an 83-year-old man who recently recovered from the virus say he seems “reborn”.

A retired former nurse, the man was admitted to the same hospital in which he used to work on March 8th with respiratory problems and was soon diagnosed with the virus.

“My dad could have been yet another victim, but's made it,” the man's son, named as Federico, told local newspaper Brescia Today

“Maybe having always practiced a lot of sport helped him. Before he got sick he was riding for kilometres on his bike,” he added. “Now he looks like a new person. It's like he was reborn. Perhaps having won this battle has given him new energy.“

Elsewhere in Lombardy, in Lodi, which has suffered one of the biggest outbreaks in Italy, an 86-year-old woman named Gianna was also reported to have recovered on Wednesday after spending seven weeks fighting the infection in hospital, local media reported.

And a 95-year-old woman recently became the first patient in the province of Modena, Emilia-Romagna, to recover from the coronavirus infection.

Find all The Local's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy here

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”