One hundred Italian doctors have died of the novel coronavirus since the pandemic reached the Mediterranean country in February, Italy's FNOMCeO health association said Thursday.
"The number of doctors who have died because of COVID-19 is 100, perhaps even 101 at the moment, unfortunately," an FNOMCeO spokesman told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The toll includes retired doctors the government began calling in a month ago to help fight a coronavirus that has officially claimed a world-topping 17,669 lives in Italy.
Italian media reports estimate that 30 nurses and nursing assistants have also died of COVID-19.
"We can longer allow our doctors, our health workers, to be sent to fight without any protection against the virus," FNOMCeO president Filippo Anelli said on the association's website.
"It is an unfair fight," he said.
Rome's ISS public health institute estimates that 10% of those infected with the novel coronavirus in Italy work in health care.