Putin offers to send medical personnel & equipment to help Italy
Putin offers to send medical personnel & equipment to help Italy contain coronavirus outbreak
21 Mar, 2020 22:18
Italian medical worker wearing a protective mask and suit treats patients suffering from the coronavirus. © Reuters / Flavio Lo Scalzo
Russia is set to send teams of doctors, protective gear and medical equipment to Italy to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. It follows an appeal by Italian PM Giuseppe Conte during a phone call with Vladimir Putin.
The coronavirus is spreading like wildfire in the southern European country, where nearly 800 people succumbed to the disease on Saturday alone – the largest daily loss since the start of the pandemic.
The overall number of deaths in Italy now stands at 4,825, with 53,578 infected, having long surpassed China, where the virus originated.
The Russian president voiced his support to the leadership in Rome and the Italian people as he spoke with Conte, according to the Kremlin. But it wasn’t just words, as he said Russia was willing to provide protective gear, mobile sanitizers and other medical equipment to Italy.
Eight teams of Russian military medics and virology experts are already on standby and could be deployed to Italy as early as Sunday, once Rome approves the move, Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed.
“In response to a request from the Italian side, the Russian president confirmed his readiness to promptly provide the necessary assistance and outlined the specific parameters [of what Russia can offer],” the Kremlin's press service reported. It further noted that Putin initiated the phone call with Conte.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that it has amassed nine Il-76 transport planes at a military base near Moscow, which will be used to deliver the aid to Italy.