Spanish 10-year-old heads home after 11 days in COVID ICU

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MADRID (Reuters) - A 10-year-old boy who spent 11 days fighting a severe COVID-19 infection on an intensive care ward in Spain was given the all clear on Friday, prompting an outpouring of affection from the staff who attended him.

Medical personnel at the Mancha Centro hospital in Ciudad Real whooped and cheered when Mateo Roman was allowed to go home.

"Thank you so much to everyone who has sent me good wishes, I love you all," he told state broadcaster TVE.

Lucas Salcedo, head of paediatric services at Mancha Centro, congratulated him and his family for "never throwing in the towel, even in the most painful moments".

One of just three children under 14 to have been admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit since March, Mateo's case became well known in Spain after a nurse published a photo of the two of them on social media.

On his last day at the hospital, the medical team presented him with a basketball, a car-themed colouring book and a powder-blue superman cape.

Mateo's father Javier thanked the doctors and nurses for going above and beyond their professional duty in caring for him: "They treated him with a lot of affection, and gave us strength and hope when we needed it".

(Reporting by Nathan Allen; Editing by Janet Lawrence)