Health

Wuhan experts land in Italy to help combat Covid-19

Rome, March 13 (efe-epa).- Nine Chinese researchers and medical experts arrived in Italy on Friday to help the country overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have come with 31 tons of medical supplies, including mechanical respirators, masks and other equipment. We hope that by sharing our experience we can help Italy overcome this emergency,” vice president of the Chinese Red Cross Yang Huichuan told reporters in Rome.

After Chinese health authorities declared on Thursday the peak of transmissions had ended, the government is now working to help other affected regions.

The group of experts will share knowledge and expertise learnt combatting the outbreak in Wuhan, the city where the virus first emerged, with Italian health authorities, the most affected country in Europe.

Similar to the Chinese model, the Italian government has adopted very restrictive measures to try to stop the spread of the disease.

A nationwide lockdown limiting the movement of people has been in place since last week, businesses that do not offer essential services have all been closed, as have schools, universities, cinemas, museums and theatres.

Public gatherings and sports events have also been called off.

“We applaud all the measures taken by the Italian government, which are very similar to those taken by China and have been successful. We are convinced that Italy will emerge from this crisis as soon as possible,” the Chinese ambassador to Rome Li Ruiyu said.

The ambassador explained that the nine experts “have been in Hubei province, in the city of Wuhan, fighting the virus on the front line” and they are now determined to share with Italy what they have learned so the virus can be eradicated.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy had two goals to meet: to heal the sick and to heal its battered economy, which is dangerously close to recession.

To meet the first goal, Di Maio has insisted on the need for people to avoid going outside and has urged Italians to donate blood to address the shortage in hospitals.

With regards to the economy, the drastic measures approved by the Italian Government risk leaving large dents in business budgets.

To mitigate this, a 25 billion euro emergency fiscal stimulus package has been earmarked.

If the government forks out the entire fund it will increase the country’s deficit to 3.3 percent in 2020.

On Thursday, China declared that the peak of transmissions had come to an end, but has not lifted the stringent prevention measures that are keeping a large part of the population homebound.

According to the latest count by the Chinese National Health Commission, the country has only recorded eight new cases of contagion in the last 24 hours.

In Italy, the first Covid-19 cases were detected at the end of February and in just three weeks the total number of infections has exceeded 15,000. Of those 1,045 have recovered. More than 1000 have died, according to the latest official report.

The Mediterranean country has been cut-off from the world with other countries issuing travel bans to and from Italian airports. EFE-EPA

lsc/ch

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