Italian nurses at the Castelli Hospital turn a doorframe into a plastic hugging area for Covid-19 patients.
A plastic sheet filling a doorframe at a hospital in Rome has been giving happiness and hope to Covid-19 patients and their family members as they struggle to overcome anxiety and loneliness.
It was turned into a hugging area in the hospital allowing Covid-19 patients to embrace their relatives in a safe way.
Nurses working at the Castelli Hospital, a half-hour outside the capital, decided to ask hospital officials for a plastic hugs window when they realised that video and regular phone calls were not enough for their patients.
According to Giulia Giuliani, the nurse who proposed the idea, the Covid-19 patients spending long periods in the hospital, without being able to see family members, were becoming steadily sadder and lonelier.
The hospital agreed and fitting a doorframe near one of the Covid-19 wards with plastic sheeting and long plastic sleeves at different levels for patients and family members to hug, talk and kiss.
The hospital set up a 30-minute space between window hugs so that workers can carefully disinfect the plastic sheet and sleeves.
65-year-old Claudio Filippini was pushed in a wheelchair down a long corridor towards the hugs window.
Filippini could barely control his emotions, bursting into tears and struggling to speak beneath his oxygen mask.
Nurses in sanitary suits accompanied him, one of them dragging his oxygen cylinder.
Filippini's wife and daughter were waiting on the other side of the plastic.
At the window, the nurses helped him up so he could put his hands into the plastic sleeves.
On the other side Filippini's wife and daughter were equally moved by the chance to hug him.
"After 21 days, to hug your family member again is really beautiful. He's my husband," said his wife Ivana Pisu.
His daughter Manila, tears flowing, was unable to talk except to mumble to her father through the plastic curtain, "I miss you."
One of the hospital staffers, Giancarlo Vannimartini, a anaesthesiologist who became infected and sick, also uses the window to see his companion.
He was able to walk on his own, but was also hooked up to an oxygen cylinder.
Vannimartini said that he's happy with the arrangement in a time when affection and emotions "really puts one to the test."
There are currently 140 patients with Covid-19 being cared for at the Castelli Hospital.
Italy was the first nation in the West to get battered by the coronavirus and continues to struggle with it.
To date, over 83,000 Italians have died from Covid-19 and nearly 2.5 million have been infected.