Russian army to send coronavirus help to Italy after Putin phone call

Published March 22, 2020
In this March 14 photo, people clap their hands in appreciation for the efforts of Italian doctors and paramedics as they stand on their roof in Rome. — AP
In this March 14 photo, people clap their hands in appreciation for the efforts of Italian doctors and paramedics as they stand on their roof in Rome. — AP

The Russian military will start sending medical help to Italy from Sunday to help it to battle the new coronavirus after receiving an order from President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Putin spoke to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday, the Kremlin said, adding that the Russian leader had offered his support and help in the form of mobile disinfection vehicles and specialists to aid the worst hit Italian regions.

Italy recorded a jump in deaths from the coronavirus of almost 800 on Saturday, taking the toll in the world’s hardest-hit country to almost 5,000.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that military transport planes would deliver eight mobile brigades of military medics, special disinfection vehicles and other medical equipment to Italy from Sunday.

Russia will also send about 100 military specialists in virology and epidemics, the Interfax news agency cited the defense ministry as saying.

Russia itself has reported 306 cases of the virus, most of them in Moscow, and one coronavirus-related death.

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