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Russian military experts en route to Italy’s Bergamo to aid fight against COVID-19

The convoy will cover about 600 km in total

FLORENCE /Italy/, March 25. /TASS/. A convoy of the Russian Defense Ministry has continued on its way to Italy’s Bergamo after a stopover in Florence, the ministry informed reporters on Wednesday.

"The convoy of special military equipment and military experts of the Russian Defense Ministry en route from the air base of the Italian Armed Forces in Pratica di Mare (30 km to the southwest of Rome, Italy) to Bergamo has continued on its way after a stopover for refuelling and equipment checks in Florence," the message informs.

The convoy will cover about 600 km in total. "The Russian equipment is accompanied by Italian carabinieri throughout the trip," the ministry said.

Bergamo, a city in northern Italy (the province of Lombardy) is one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy with a record number of infections and deaths in the country.· Under the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Defense Ministry sent several military jets to Italy that transported virologists, epidemiologists and the necessary equipment to the country. According to the ministry, the group includes specialists who directly took part in fighting outbreaks of African swine fever, as well as developing vaccines against Ebola and the plague. The planes also delivered mobile stations for aerosol disinfection of transport and territories and medical equipment.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in more than 150 countries, including Russia.

On March 11, WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic. As of now, over 410,000 people have been infected around the world and more than 18,000 have died. Russia has identified 658 cases, 29 patients have recovered. The Russian government has launched an Internet hotline to keep the country’s people informed about the coronavirus situation.