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Italy and Spain have received medical aid and a team of health experts from China after reportedly failing to get support from the European Union in their bid to fight COVID-19.
Organized by the National Health Commission and the Red Cross Society of China, a charter flight carrying a nine-member Chinese health team arrived in Italy on Thursday, CGTN reports.
The aid, which came with tons of supplies and 700 pieces of medical equipment including ventilators, monitors and defibrillators, came days after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy rose to over 10,000. As of this writing, the figure has more than doubled, reaching over 27,000 cases.
Maurizio Massari, Italy’s permanent representative to the EU, earlier lamented that Italy’s plea for help in fighting the outbreak has apparently fallen on deaf ears.
“Italy, the European country struck hardest by the coronavirus, has done everything it can to contain and manage the epidemic,” Massari wrote in an op-ed in Politico.
“We must ensure, under EU coordination, the supply of the necessary medical equipment and its redistribution among those countries and regions most in need. Today, this means Italy; tomorrow, the need could be elsewhere.”
“Italy has already asked to activate the European Union Mechanism of Civil Protection for the supply of medical equipment for individual protection. But, unfortunately, not a single EU country responded to the commission’s call. Only China responded bilaterally. Certainly, this is not a good sign of European solidarity.”
According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) President Francesco Rocca, Italy welcomes China’s support and assistance.
“Italy lauds China for its fight against the disease, and thanks China for providing support and assistance in such difficult time. Italy wants to exchange experience to prevent and contain the virus,” Rocca was quoted by CGTN as saying.
Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio recently took to Facebook to hail China’s efforts in helping Italy.
“Today, Italy is not alone,” said Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. “Many people in the world are supporting us.”
The medical delegation sent to Rome is the third team of experts deployed by the Chinese authorities outside China. The Chinese government has earlier sent shipments of supplies and experts to Iraq and Iran, which is one of the countries severely hit by the deadly virus.
Feature Image via CGTN