In an act of good global citizenship, a plane carrying a team of Chinese doctors and medical equipment left Beijing on Wednesday and landed in Italy. The reason? These specialist doctors were on a mission “to share their experience” with Italy, which is experiencing the largest outbreak of coronavirus in Europe just as new infections are tapering off in China.
“Our doctors don’t need anyone to teach them their job, but the Chinese doctors were the first [to deal with the virus] and they can bring their experience,” Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told RAI television.
I just saw this and my eyes filled with tears. It is so refreshing and unexpected to be woken up with good news, in a...Posted by Rachele Focardi on Friday, March 13, 2020
As new infections plateau in China, they are taking off in Europe and elsewhere. Beijing officials reported only 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. However, in Italy, the number of cases is currently at 15,113, with 11,255 cases just diagnosed in the past week. In northern Italy, the center of the Italian outbreak, hospitals are under pressure due to the high amount of hospitalizations needed intensive care. There are concerns the healthcare system may collapse.
“The bottlenecks of this outbreak are hospitalization in general and intensive care, so to increase capacity, equipment must be purchased,” said Elisabetta Groppeli, a virologist at St. George’s University in London. “Given that symptoms and complications of COVID-19 are respiratory, an increase in ventilators is of great help.”
A charter flight carrying a 9-member Chinese aid team and 31 tons of medical supplies arrived in Rome Thur night, as part of China's efforts to help Italy contain the #CoronaOutbreak. It is the 3rd expert team sent abroad by China following previous teams sent to Iran and Iraq. pic.twitter.com/AVuoPfHhBW— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) March 13, 2020
Groppelli said that despite the support being sent to Italy, China’s own fight against the virus—in which almost three-fourths of China’s patients have recovered—was not over.
“The situation there has certainly been improving, but China is not completely out of the woods,” she said. “The temporary hospitals are not in use any more, but the mandatory quarantine for travellers from countries with high numbers of cases suggests that China is aware that the situation could revert back, and therefore remains highly vigilant.”
Italians are just grateful for the extra support in combating this virus and preventing the outbreak from spreading.
“Tonight Italy is not alone,” Di Maio said. “Many people in the world are supporting us.”