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Italian student stuck in Wuhan is traveling to Italy

Vincent mbeja

Feb. 15, 2020

Niccolò, lo student 17-year-old Italian who was stuck in Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus , is traveling to Italy. At 5.45 in the afternoon of Friday 14 February, the boy left China with the plane made available by the Italian Air Force and, roughly at 7 on Saturday morning, he will reach the Roman port of Pratica di Mare.
An ordeal, that of the Grado student, who risked detonating a real diplomatic case. In fact, due to a persistent feverish state (above the safety limits for the Asian country), the Chinese authorities had rejected the request for repatriation of the young man twice despite the fact that he had tested negative for covid-19 and his health conditions were more than reassuring. Now, however, the nightmare seems to be over.
Niccolò was embarked on a flight prepared ad hoc for the circumstance and defined as “biocontainment”. In other words, it is a particular aircraft that requires the activation of a specific health protocol capable of protecting on-board personnel, medical staff and the patient from the exposure of any infectious agents. The team is made up, to be exact, of a senior medical officer who coordinates the mission, an anesthesiologist, an infectious disease specialist and 6 other officers who, however, supervise the correct execution of the transport procedures. The student will travel inside an “insulating stretcher” ( Aircraft transport isolator ) consisting of a rigid frame, surmounted by a PVC tire, which will allow constant monitoring of its conditions. The structure is powered by a battery motor, necessary to maintain a negative pressure inside it which prevents the passage – both at the exit and at the entrance – of any potentially infectious micro particles for the entire staff. Once landed at Pratica di Mare airport, Niccolò will be taken to the Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital on a “special” ambulance, also equipped with a complex isolation system.
This kind of military aircraft it is used in the event that the patient to be transported is suffering from ebola, smallpox, drug-resistant tuberculosis and plague. In the world, only Italy, the United States and Great Britain are able to set up highly biocontained aircraft. The particular health security protocol is activated in close collaboration between the Ministries of Health, the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Civil Protection.
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