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Chinese experts on mission to help Italy fight virus

By ZHOU JIN in Beijing and MA ZHENHUAN in Hangzhou | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-03-12 07:32
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A group of Chinese experts pose for a group photo before heading to Italy on Wednesday. [Photo/CCTV News app]

A group of Chinese experts headed to Italy on Wednesday at the urgent request of its Red Cross to help contain the novel coronavirus outbreak in the European country.

The seven-member team, led by a vice-president of the Red Cross Society of China, consists of an expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and five people from Southwest China's Sichuan province-three medics, an interpreter and a Sichuan Red Cross official. The team is taking medical supplies to assist the country.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has imposed a national lockdown on the entire country, which has over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 600 fatalities so far.

In a telephone conversation with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said the Italian government is paying close attention to and learning from China's successful experience in combating the virus, and is taking strong measures to contain the spread of the disease.

Italy hopes China can help solve its urgent need for medical supplies and equipment, he said.

In response, Wang said that although China still needs a large amount of medical supplies, the country will overcome its difficulties and provide Italy with medical materials including face masks and increase exports of supplies and equipment to Italy.

Chinese cities and provinces that have sisterly ties with Italian peers, as well as Chinese companies, have pledged to offer a helping hand, according to Wang.

A chartered cargo plane departed from Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport at 5:50 am on Wednesday, carrying 4,556 boxes of disaster-relief materials destined for Italy.

The materials, the first shipment from East China's Zhejiang province, included face masks, protective clothing, goggles and latex gloves donated by people from all walks of life in Zhejiang. More than 300,000 people from Zhejiang live and work in Italy.

The joint battle against the virus will deepen the relationship between China and Italy, and enhance the friendship between the two peoples, Wang said.

China will not forget the support from Italy when the country was at the hardest moment in the fight against the virus, he said, adding that China is now willing to stand firmly with the Italian people.

Preventing imported infections of the novel coronavirus is a key task for China at present.

As Beijing and provinces such as Zhejiang and Shandong have already seen imported cases from Italy, the epicenter in Europe, containing the spread of the virus in the European country will help China itself in curbing the epidemic.


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