An Italian priest who contracted coronavirus has died after giving his respirator to a younger patient who was also battling the illness

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Friar Don Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, was the priest for the parish of Casnigo, a small village just 40 miles north east of Milan.

He died in hospital in Lovere, Bergamo, one of the worst-hit areas in Italy.

According to the hospital, he refused to use a respirator his parishioners had bought for him, and instead gave it to a younger patient he did not know.

In an obituary on Araberara, an Italian news website, one healthcare worker said: “He was a priest who listened to everyone, he knew how to listen, and whoever turned to him knew that he could count on his help.”

Clara Poli, who had been mayor of Fiorano for some years, described the priest as a “great person”.

She told the news publication: “I remember him on his old Guzzi motorbike, he loved his motorbike, and when he was seen passing by he was always cheerful and full of enthusiasm, he gave peace and joy to our communities.

“He does not leave us alone, from up there he watches over us and continues to run through the clouds with his motorcycle, who knows how many projects he is doing up there, also for us.”

No funeral was held for Friar Berardelli as Bergamo is one of the worst-hit areas in the world. Instead, people stood on their balconies at noon after his death and gave him a round of applause.

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