An Italian nurse killed herself after testing positive for coronavirus and fearing she had infected others, a nursing federation has revealed.
Daniela Trezzi, 34, was working on the front line of the coronavirus crisis at a hospital in Lombardy, the worst-affected region of Italy.
The National Federation of Nurses of Italy confirmed her death and expressed its 'pain and dismay' in a statement last night.
The federation said the nurse had been suffering 'heavy stress' because she feared she was spreading the virus while trying to bring the crisis under control.
It came as Italy's death toll surged again yesterday with 743 new fatalities recorded in one day, dampening hopes that the tide was starting to turn.
However, the number of total infections rose by just eight per cent - the lowest level since Italy registered its first death on February 21.
Daniela Trezzi had been working on the intensive care ward at the San Gerardo hospital in Monza, around nine miles from Milan, but was in quarantine after showing coronavirus symptoms and testing positive for the disease.
The nursing group also revealed that 'a similar episode had happened a week ago in Venice, with the same underlying reasons'.
'Each of us has chosen this profession for good and, unfortunately, also for bad: we are nurses,' the federation said.
'The condition and stress to which our professionals are subjected is under the eyes of all.'
The general manager of San Gerardo hospital, Mario Alparone, said Daniela had been at home sick since March 10, and that 'she was not under surveillance'.
Judicial authorities are now investigating her death, according to local media.
Figures released by an Italian research institute yesterday showed that some 5,760 health workers had been infected with coronavirus.
Nino Cartabellotta, the head of the Gimbe foundation which collected the data, urged that this 'phenomemon' must be 'curbed to safeguard those who take care of us'.
The 5,760 medical workers make up around eight per cent of Italy's total cases, which rose to 69,176 in the latest figures on Tuesday.
The day-to-day increase of 5,249 marked the second consecutive rise of around eight per cent, lower than at any point since the virus began to spread in Italy.
Health officials across Italy are poring over every new piece of data to see whether two weeks of bans and closures have made a dent in the crisis.
However, some officials have cautioned that it is still too soon to say if Italy is about to see a peak in the outbreak.
Italy's 743 new deaths broke two days of successive declines that had taken the number down to 601 on Monday.
It set an unwanted world record of 793 fatalities in a day on Saturday.
'The measures we took two weeks ago are starting to have an effect,' civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told the daily La Repubblica before Tuesday's toll came out.
He said more data over the next few days will help show 'if the growth curve is really flattening.'
Few scientists expect Italy's numbers - if they really are dropping - to follow a steady downward line.
Scientists believe that countries such as Spain and France are following in Italy's footsteps with a lag of a few weeks.
The numbers from the US are also similar to those of Italy's from about 20 days ago.
Most other European nations and some US states have followed Italy's example and imposed their own containment and social distancing measures designed to stop the spread.
The data that Borrelli has gathered from Italy's 22 regions are of crucial interest to global policy makers and medical experts.
Italy's daily deaths are still higher than those officially recorded in China at the peak of its crisis in Wuhan's central Hubei province.
They are also higher than those seen anywhere else in the world.
Italian officials are using the downward trend in infections to double down on their insistence that people stay home at all times, no matter the personal discomfort or economic pain.
Most big global banks think Italy has already entered a deep economic recession that could be more severe than anything seen in decades.
The Lombardy region around Milan at the epicentre of the pandemic has begun imposing 5,000 euro (£4,500) fines on those venturing outdoors without a good excuse.
Borrelli said he supported the measures because it was 'credible' to assume that the infection rate is 10 times the reported number - suggesting there could be as many as 690,000 cases in the country.
Italy is perplexed over how it managed to become the global epicentre of a pandemic that began on the other side of the world.
Without blaming anyone or any single factor, Borrelli said: 'From the very start, people were behaving in a way that fuelled the national problem.'
But he did point to a Champions League match between Italy's Atalanta and Spain's Valencia's football clubs in Milan's San Siro stadium on 19 February as a particularly egregious mistake.
It was attended by 40,000 fans who celebrated the local team's win deep into the night.
'We can now say, with hindsight, that it was potentially a detonator,' Borrelli said of the match.
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 69,176 from a previous 63,927, an increase of 8.2 per cent, in line with Monday's growth rate, the Civil Protection Agency said.
Of those originally infected nationwide, 8,326 had fully recovered on Tuesday compared to 7,432 the day before.
There were 3,396 people in intensive care against a previous 3,204.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.