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Italy’s Piedmont region asks Russia for assistance in struggle against pandemic

Piedmont is Italy’s third region as to the spread of the epidemic and the number of fatalities

ROME, April 10. /TASS/. The regional council of Italy’s northern region Piedmont and the anti-pandemic crisis committee have addressed Russia with a formal request for assistance, the chief of the Brothers of Italy faction, council’s member Maurizio Marrone told TASS.

"Our request was officially submitted to the civil protection department," Marrone said, adding that the move had been agreed with Governor Alberto Cirio.

"We are asking you to consider our request for dispatching part of the specialists, who earlier arrived in Italy with the From Russia with Love mission, for disinfection and other measures to fight against the coronavirus. We know about their effective work in Lombardy and the sending of Russian medical supplies to Apulia, a region that has been less affected by the pandemic than Piedmont," the message says.

Piedmont is Italy’s third region as to the spread of the epidemic and the number of fatalities. The overall number of those infected has exceeded 14,500, of whom nearly 1,500 have died and 1,700 have recovered.

Russian aid

In a telephone conversation on March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte agreed that Moscow would provide the necessary assistance to Rome in fighting against the coronavirus. On March 22-March 25 a total of 15 planes delivered about 100 Russian military virologists and the Defense Ministry’s epidemiologists, eight teams of doctors and nurses and diagnostic and disinfection equipment to Italy. Russian military specialists were commissioned to provide assistance in the area of Bergamo, Lombardy, one of the worst affected places. The chief doctor of a field hospital created at the local hospital, Oliviero Valoti, where Russian specialists work at the moment, said their experience and assistance were valuable, just as the Russian equipment the facility is outfitted with, including the lung ventilators.

"These instruments of Russian manufacture are of great quality and importance to us. They are extremely important. Italian doctors have mastered their operation, too. The equipment is very convenient and easy to operate," Valoti said.

The Russian personnel carries out such crucial operations as the disinfection of homes for the aged, where the coronavirus-related death rates are the highest. Russian military epidemiologists and specialists from the Russian Defense Ministry’s radiation, chemical and biological protection forces and their Italian military counterparts have disinfected homes for the aged in Lombardy’s 43 communities. They have decontaminated 47 buildings, more than 270,000 square meters of rooms and 26,000 square meters of roads.

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

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,600,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 95,800 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 357,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 11,917 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 795 patients having recovered from the virus. Moscow accounts for the majority of cases (7,822). Russia’s latest data indicates 94 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.