Chinese experts: Italy must do more to combat coronavirus

Rome, Mar 19 (efe-epa).- A delegation of nine Chinese experts who are assisting hard-hit Italy with its response to the novel coronavirus said Thursday the country must enact stricter measures to prevent further spread of the acute respiratory disease.

That team of researchers and doctors gained experience combating the spread of Covid-19 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where it is believed to have originated, and have been in Italy since March 13.

The vice president of the Chinese Red Cross and delegation leader, Yang Huichuan, said in a press conference Thursday in the northern Italian city of Milan, capital of the most-affected Lombardy region, that there are still too many people on the streets.

“You’re not having very strict lockout policy of the city because public transportation is still working, people are still moving around and you’re having dinners and parties in hotels and you’re not wearing masks,” Yang said via a consecutive interpreter on a day in which China reported no new local infections for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began three months ago.

“What (Italy) is experiencing right now is similar (to what happened) in the city of Wuhan,” Yang said, adding that achieving a halt to coronavirus infections will require paralyzing “all economic activity and cutting the mobility of people.”

“All people should be staying in home for quarantine,” he said. “And we need everybody to be fully prepared for the protection of lives because the lives of our people is the most important matter right now.”

Yang, meanwhile, acknowledged that the strides toward development of international best practices for controlling infectious diseases is a very positive step.

Also addressing the media at the press conference was the president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, who said he will urge the Italian government to enact stricter measures than those implemented thus far.

“Those who directly managed the Wuhan crisis are surprised there are so many people on the streets, to see so many people using public transportation and the fact so few people are wearing masks,” he said.

“If we don’t change the way we’re tackling this problem, the virus will keep spreading,” he added.

Italy has reported 35,713 coronavirus cases and 2,978 Covid-19-related deaths to date, according to the latest tally. Both of those figures are the second-most worldwide after China.

In terms of fatalities, Italy’s figure is now only 267 fewer than China’s tally.

Although China reported no local coronavirus infections on Thursday, even in the former Covid-19 epicenter of Wuhan, cases arriving in the country from abroad continued to rise and amounted to 34 over the past 24 hours.



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