(26 Sep 2020) Italy's first identified COVID-19 patient on Saturday said he felt "lucky" he survived and that he was feeling well enough to join a symbolic relay race uniting two of the first towns hit by the virus in northern Italy, Codogno and Vo Euganeo.
Mattia Maestri tested positive on February 21 in Codogno, 60 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of Milan.
Seven months later, 38-year old Mattia, who became a symbol of hope in the fight against the virus, said he felt healthy enough to take part in the final lap of the race.
Some 40 runners will take part in the symbolic 188-kilometers two-day relay race uniting Italy's first two virus hotspots, Codogno in Lombardy and Vo Euganeo in Veneto.
Codogno was the first town in Italy, in the hard-hit northern Lombardy region, to be isolated after being declared a red zone on February 23, before the virus started spreading exponentially.
Mattia first went to the hospital in Codogno on February 18 complaining of flu-like symptoms.
He was sent home, but came back the next day after his condition worsened dramatically.
He was only tested for coronavirus after doctors learned that in early February he had met with a man who had been to China.
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