MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. The eighth and ninth planes from the Russian Airspace Forces carrying the last groups of experts and equipment to battle the coronavirus have arrived in Italy, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
The aircraft landed at Pratica di Mare Air Base located 30 kilometers southwest of the Italian capital of Rome.
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in a telephone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that Moscow was ready to provide quick assistance to Rome in combating the infection. Under the president’s order, the Russian Defense Ministry formed a group of nine Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft to deliver virologists, infectious disease experts and equipment to Italy.
According to the Defense Ministry, the Russian mission consists of eight mobile teams and about 100 military virologists and infectious disease experts who earlier participated in efforts to fight the outbreaks of African swine fever and anthrax, and in the development of vaccines for Ebola fever and plague. Russia has also provided Italy with truck-based units capable of disinfecting vehicles and public spaces, as well as with medical equipment.
As of March 22, the number of coronavirus patients in Italy stood at 59,138. A total of 5,476 people have died of the infection.