Cuba said it dispatched thirty seven doctors and fifteen nurses to Italy to help in the fight against the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) that has killed thousands of Italians in Lombardy.
The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued its relentless rise in Europe on Sunday with Italy announcing 651 dead in one day, bringing its total to 5,476.
It was an increase of 13.5 percent but down from Saturday’s figure when 793 people died.
Cuban doctors were on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against Ebola in West Africa 10 years ago.
This is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of its medical diplomacy.
“We are all afraid but we have a revolutionary duty to fulfill, so we take out fear and put it to one side,” Leonardo Fernandez, 68, an intensive care specialist, told Reuters late on Saturday shortly before his brigade’s departure.
“He who says he is not afraid is a superhero, but we are not superheros, we are revolutionary doctors.”
Fernandez said this would be his eighth international mission, including one in Liberia during the fight against ebola.
Italy is the country that has been worst affected by the highly contagious virus that originated in China, with the northern region of Lombardy bearing the brunt of the contagion.
Its death toll rose on Saturday by 546 to 3,095, according to its head of welfare, Giulio Gallera, who requested the Cuban doctors.
We are going to fulfill an honorable task, based on the principle of solidarity,” said Graciliano Díaz, 64.