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Canaries supporting doctor battling coronavirus pandemic in Italy

PUBLISHED: 12:05 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:51 16 April 2020

Roberto Bergonzi from the Italian Canaries is a doctor in Italy Picture: PA/Adam Davy/Norwich City FC

Roberto Bergonzi from the Italian Canaries is a doctor in Italy Picture: PA/Adam Davy/Norwich City FC

PA/Adam Davy/Norwich City FC

He is on the frontline of the medical battle against the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy’s hardest hit region.

Roberto Bergonzi is a doctor in the city of Bergamo, to the north-east of Milan, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy - a region that has seen over 11,000 of the country’s total of more than 21,000 deaths so far during the pandemic.

Mr Bergonzi, a physiatrist, is also a co-founder of the Italian Canaries supporters group and has spoken about the difficult conditions being faced in Bergamo, the city where top-flight club Atalanta are based.

“The hospital where I work, it became the Covid-19 central hospital in Italy,” Mr Bergonzi explained. “There were 60 beds and that became 160 very quickly for patients affected by the virus.

“It’s a terrible disease. I saw young people in hospital also. The doctors made the mistake early on because when they decided to close the schools, they allowed children to play outside and visit grandparents. After this, the grandparents became ill.

“The message [of staying at home] is very important because people have to understand that many people in Italy have the coronavirus and unfortunately many of those people are asymptomatic. So, everybody needs to keep their distance and stay at home.”

MORE: Norwich City’s club doctor urges people to stay at home as he battles coronavirus on the frontline

Only the United States has a higher death toll (above 28,000) than Italy during the pandemic so far but the rate of both deaths and confirmed cases has slowed in the past week.

Italy went into lockdown four weeks before the UK, where there have been over 12,000 deaths so far.

Mr Bergonzi, speaking to City’s official website, explained: “The lockdown has been in place for almost eight weeks now. In Bergamo, people have understood the message because of the number of people who have died.

“The worst period for Bergamo was three weeks ago. Now, the situation is improving but we have to keep going with everything to beat the virus.”

MORE: City skipper’s personal reason for helping set up NHS fund

The Italian Canaries is one of over 20 supporters groups following the Canaries around the world, founded by a group of fathers in 2019 as their children played for a team which also wore yellow and green kits, so they decided to make Norwich the English team they would follow.

“One of us supports Juventus, someone else Inter and someone else Atalanta, but we all love Norwich City,” Mr Bergonzi added. “We’ve been supporting them for one year.

“We were hoping to come and watch Norwich v Burnley on the Saturday in May and then play at Carrow Road on the Monday in a charity match. But now, it’s impossible!”

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