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Russia Will Deliver Virologists, Medical Equipment to Italy to Help Combat Coronavirus

© REUTERS / Massimo PincaA woman wearing a face mask in Turin, Italy
A woman wearing a face mask in Turin, Italy - Sputnik International
Italy has become the new hotbed of the novel coronavirus, as its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 53,500 and 4,825 people have died from the disease so far.

Russia will send medical virologists, doctors and equipment to Italy to help combat the new coronavirus outbreak, the Russian Ministry of Defence said on Saturday.

"Upon the Italian side's readiness, the inducted military aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces will deliver to the republic [Italy] eight mobile teams of Russian medical virology specialists and doctors, automotive aerosol disinfection systems for transport and territory, as well as medical equipment",  the ministry said.

According to the statement, the assistance will be sent beginning on March 22, as per Russian President Vladimir Putin's order.

Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini later thanked Russia for providing prompt assistance and confirmed Italy was ready to accept it beginning on 22 March.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic during phone talks on Saturday, in which Putin confirmed Russia's readiness to provide aid.

Originating in China last December, the epicentre of the new coronavirus disease has moved to Europe, namely to Italy, where a total of 53,578 cases have been confirmed and 4,825 deaths from the virus have been registered.

The country has been under quarantine since 9 March, in which all mass activities, including sporting events, have been cancelled.

The northern province of Bergamo has been most affected by the virus, with over 5,000 people infected.

Worldwide, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 266,000, over 11,000 people have died, the World Health Organisation reported. On 11 March, the WHO declared the new coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

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