The Russian Defense Ministry of Defense delivered about 100 Russian military specialists and equipment to Italy to assist in the fight against the spread of coronavirus infection in the country. As of March 23, the number of cases of infection in Italy amounted to 59,138 people, of whom 5,476 people died. As many as 1,500 people died in Italy over the weekend. The healthcare system of Italy is on the verge of collapse, and about 100 Russian specialists, as well as 52 specialists from Cuba, arrived in the disaster-stricken country to help Italian doctors.
Russia sent nine Ilyushin IL-76 military transport aircraft to Italy with about 100 Russian military specialists and equipment to provide all necessary assistance:
All special equipment that arrived in Italy was decorated with stickers: flags of Russia and Italy, and words written in three languages "From Russia with love", which means the most important thing for so many Italians now - health.
The Ministry of Defense sent eight groups of medical specialists to Italy. Each of them consists of four people:
All groups will be working with translators' help.
On Sunday, seven planes took off from Moscow to Italy. Two more departed on Monday morning. They landed at the military airfield of Pratica di Mare, located some 30 km from Rome. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Mayo was among the delegation to welcome the first aircraft.
All Russian military specialists, who arrived in Italy, have extensive practical experience. They had taken part in the elimination of outbreaks of African plague, anthrax, and participated in the development of the vaccine against Ebola. They have rich experience in working under the conditions of a complex epidemiological situation, organizing the disinfection of buildings and water intake systems. All of them were with modern equipment and medications.
On Saturday, March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, in which he set out Russia's readiness to help Italy in the fight against the epidemic. Putin ordered the Ministry of Defense to arrange an air group of nine IL-76 aircraft, which delivered virologists, epidemiologists and the necessary equipment to Italy.
Cuba also sent its doctors to Italy to help the republic in the fight against coronavirus. According to the Cuban Ministry of Health, the Italian government asked Cuba for help on March 15, and Cuba considered the request quickly.
A team of 52 specialists arrived from Cuba to the Italian province of Lombardy, which was affected by the coronavirus epidemic most - more than a half of all infected Italians reside in Lombardy. They will help their Italian colleagues in the fight against coronavirus in the north-west of the country, in the city of Crema.