With the number of growing cases each day, Italy has become the epicenter of the deadly disease in Europe. To combat the deadly coronavirus infection and wipe it out completly from the country, the government of Italy has made a direct appeal to Defense Secretary Mark Esper for US military aid to battle coronavirus, according to a US defense official.
Specifically, Italy's defense minister has asked Esper for critical medical equipment like masks and ventilators as Italy has nearly 60,000 confirmed cases and has more than 5,000 deaths. The Italian government has requested that US military personnel stationed in Italy assist Italian authorities by providing medical personnel and field hospitals in support of Italian troops already responding to the crisis there.
Esper reportedly made the Defense Department’s stockpile of masks and ventilators available to civilian hospitals in the US to help respond to the pandemic. The military has activated units capable of constructing field hospitals to help relieve the burden on civilian hospitals. The Italian plea for assistance from its NATO ally comes as the Russian military has made a very public effort to provide the Italians with assistance, using military aircraft to fly in medical personnel and equipment.
In its most far-reaching measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, Italy is slowing industrial production nationwide, while the hardest-hit region of Lombardy banned any outdoor exercise not on personal property and set distance limits on dog-walking.
Franco Locatelli, president of Italy’s Higher Health Council, said Sunday that with the new stringent measures announced this weekend, Italy had exhausted all the possible ways it could to limit personal and professional contact. That came as Italy announced that the increase in both infections and deaths had shown the first sign of narrowing in the previous 24 hours.
Expressing his concerns over the outbreak, Locatelli advised people to maintain social distance and also to adopt all the measures for immediate and favourable results which will be visible in weeks now. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. More than 95,000 people have recovered, mostly in China.