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Putin assures Conte of Russia’s readiness to help Italy battle coronavirus

Moscow plans to send medical teams and equipment along with means of protection from coronavirus

MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. In a phone call with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Moscow’s readiness to provide any assistance needed to stem the coronavirus outbreak and informed him that Moscow plans to send medical teams and equipment along with means of protection from coronavirus to Italy, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

"They focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the two countries’ efforts aimed at stemming the spread of the infection. Vladimir Putin voiced his support to the leadership and people of Italy in the wake of the most severe epidemiological situation in the Italian Republic," the statement says.

"In response to Italy’s request, the president of Russia confirmed readiness to promptly provide the required assistance and informed about its practical parameters. In particular, supplies of means of protection and mobile vehicles mounted on Kamaz trucks for spraying disinfectants over transport and in the areas as well as medical and other equipment are to be delivered, while Russian specialists are to be dispatched to the country’s worst-hit regions for practical assistance," the Kremlin said. "The deliveries will be carried out by the Defense Ministry on aircraft of the Aerospace Force of the Russian Federation," the statement said.

For his part, Conte "sincerely thanked [the Russian president] for the steps taken by Moscow to support Italy during those difficult times."

The phone call was made at Russia’s request.

According to the latest reports, the death toll from the novel coronavirus has jumped to 793 in Italy. The country reports 42,681 people infected with the deadly virus, up 4,871 compared to Friday, yet over 6,000 people have made a full recovery.

In late December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak caused by a novel coronavirus was reported in central China’s city of Wuhan, an economic and industrial megacity with a population of 12 million. After the coronavirus denoted as COVID-19 broke out of China’s Hubei province, it spread across China and then throughout the world, affecting more than 150 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the outbreak as a pandemic. According to the latest reports, over 240,000 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus have been confirmed up to now. The virus’ death toll has surged to over 10,000.