By Giada Zampano
ROME - An Italian policeman who worked as a security guard for Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte died on Saturday after contracting COVID-19, the country's police said.
Giorgio Guastamacchia, 52, tested positive for the novel coronavirus late March. He had then been hospitalized in a Roman hospital and taken to an intensive care unit, due to his serious condition.
The Italian government said at the time that he had not been in contact with Conte for at least two weeks. The premier, however, was tested negative in a precautionary test.
Head of the Italian police Franco Gabrielli on Saturday expressed his condolences to Guastamacchia’s family. The policeman is survived by his wife and two sons.
The EU's Economy Commissioner and former premier Paolo Gentiloni remembered Guastamacchia in a tweet, calling him “a model.”
Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries globally, and Friday reported 766 more deaths from the virus, bringing the death toll to 14,681, the highest in the world.
But the recent slowdown in the rise of infections -- neatly down from double-digit rises in the early stages of the outbreak -- points to a possible peak for the contagion.
After first appearing in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the virus has spread to at least 181 countries and regions.
The global death toll from the virus has surpassed 60,800, with more than 1.1 million confirmed cases, and over 233,800 recoveries, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.