Italy honours its covid-19 heroes

President Mattarella bestows order of knighthood on heroic citizens.

Italy's president Sergio Mattarella has bestowed knighthood honours on 57 citizens who distinguished themselves by serving their community during the coronavirus emergency, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The honour - Cavaliere al merito della Repubblica - will be awarded to mainly frontline healthcare workers but also individuals in other professions who excelled with their actions of kindness and goodwill during Italy's darkest hour.

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The following is a selection of some of the 57 recipients of the honour, with the full list available here.

Annalisa Malara and Laura Ricevuti, an anaesthetist from Lodi and a hospital doctor in Codogno, who were the first to treat Italy's so-called Patient 1

Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, head of Rome's Spallanzani hospital team that helped to isolate the virus.

Renato Favero and Cristian Fracassi, the doctor who had the idea of adapting a snorkeling mask into a respirator and the engineer who made it happen.

Riccardo Emanuele Tiritiello, a student who together with his father and grandfather cooked free meals for the doctors and nurses of Milan's Sacco hospital.

Elena Pagliarini, the nurse from Cremona portrayed in the black and white photo that became a symbol of the coronavirus emergency, who tested postive for covid-19 but returned to the frontline as soon as she had recovered. 

Irene Coppola made thousands of masks at her own expense and helped an association for the deaf by inventing a transparent mask for lip reading purposes.

Alessandro Bellantoni made a 1,300-km free ride in his taxi to take a three-year-old girl from Vibo Valentia to the Bambin Gesù hospital in Rome for an oncological check-up.

Mahmoud Lufti Ghuniem, a rider living in Italy since 2012, presented himself to the Red Cross of Turin with 1,000 masks purchased out of his own pocket.

Giacomo Pigni, a volunteer from Auser Ticino-Olona, organised about 20 students to make "listening phone calls" to give company to people on their own during the lockdown.

Piero Terragni, a businessman from Bellusco who, following the death of employee Erminio Misani - leaving behind his unemployed wife and three children - hired Misiani's wife Michela Arlati.

Photo Agenzia Nova