Italy flanker Maxime Mbanda has volunteered as an emergency ambulance driver in a bid to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Mbanda, 27, volunteered as a driver in Parma and also joined others in Emilia-Romagna wearing a mask and protective suit.
“The situation as we all can see is of full emergency, even if until a few days ago people had not understood what was happening inside the hospitals,” he told Italy’s Facebook page.
“What I see is worrying, difficult. There are doctors who try to save lives 24 hours a day.
“The fact that my father is a doctor and surgeon meant that I felt the will to help others, even working as an ambulance volunteer as I’m doing now. In rugby support is the word.
“I have been doing this for 10 days now with an average of 11 hours of service per day.
“From 8am in the morning I am at the Croce Gialla and when the calls arrive we go to pick up the less serious patients, who are perhaps recovering and who leave the hospital to continue the quarantine at home.
Coronavirus: Postponements and cancellations in sport
“We have to dress in a particular way, with double gloves, mask, glasses and special shoes. Before going out you have to remember to go to the bathroom, because you don’t know when you can do it again, because you can’t undress on duty.”
Italy’s tally of coronavirus cases and deaths has continued to soar. As of Wednesday, there were over 7,500 confirmed dead.
The Six Nations was postponed after the outbreak which meant Mbanada’s Italy were unable to face England in the final round of the competition.
The English domestic 2019-20 season has been cancelled, excluding the Gallagher Premiership, while this year’s European finals have also been postponed.