China sends anti-epidemic expert team to Italy to help fight COVID-19
Nine Chinese experts on Thursday set out for Italy from Shanghai to help the worst coronavirus-hit country in Europe battle the outbreak.
The plane took off from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Thursday afternoon, carrying 31 tons of medical materials, including equipment for intensive care and medical protection materials.
The expert group was led by a vice president of the Red Cross Society of China and an expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Five other experts from Sichuan Province were also appointed to participate.
The five experts includes two medical experts from West China Hospital of Sichuan University. They will first fly to Shanghai Wednesday evening, then Italy soon after.
Liang Zong An, director of the Department of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine of the hospital, said they will mainly provide professional guidance after they arrive in Italy, especially to those in critical conditions.
"The mortality rate in Italy is high, particularly among the elderly," he said. "The medical systems of China and Italy might be different, and our experience may not be entirely suitable for them. But when it comes to emergency treatment methods, there are commonalities."
Meanwhile, Tang Menglin, head nurse of the Pediatric Section at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital, said they will also share their experience in treating critical patients in the ICU.
"When the outbreak happened, I got my luggage ready. I did not make it as part of the batch sent to Wuhan, but I'm now more ready than ever to help."
On a separate note, the West China Hospital of Sichuan University said it will donate two constant temperature amplification nucleic acid analyzers and nucleic acid detection kits for 1,000 people to the Georgian government. The kit – in the form of a chip – is able to detect six respiratory viruses simultaneously. The total value of these supplies amount to 3.8 million yuan.
COVID-19 in Italy
Italy has been hit hardest by COVID-19 outside China with confirmed cases breaking 10,000 on Tuesday. It extended COVID-19 quarantine measures to the entire county on Monday night, the most severe control measure adopted by a Western country since World War II, which bans public gathering, suspends all sporting events and restricts travelling abroad unless for emergencies.
On Wednesday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone call with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, saying China is willing to send medical personnel and materials to help Italy if needed.
Noting the severe situation in Italy, Wang said that though China still needs a large amount of medical materials, the country – despite the difficulties – will offer Italy medical materials, including face masks, and accelerate and enhance the export of supplies and equipment to meet Italy's urgent needs.
The epidemic knows no borders and is a common enemy of mankind. Not long ago, China made donations to the World Health Organization to support international cooperation on the COVID-19 fight.