A top Italian official knocked the European Union for leaving Italy’s plea for medical assistance unanswered while the coronavirus outbreak cripples the country.
Italy’s permanent representative to the EU, Maurizio Massari, wrote an op-ed in Politico on Tuesday asking for aid from EU members. The Italian official said that while the EU has ignored Italy’s requests for aid, China has begun assisting Italy bilaterally.
“Italy, the European country struck hardest by the coronavirus, has done everything it can to contain and manage the epidemic,” Massari wrote. “We must ensure, under EU coordination, the supply of the necessary medical equipment and its redistribution among those countries and regions most in need. Today, this means Italy; tomorrow, the need could be elsewhere.”
“Italy has already asked to activate the European Union Mechanism of Civil Protection for the supply of medical equipment for individual protection,” Massari added. “But, unfortunately, not a single EU country responded to the Commission’s call. Only China responded bilaterally. Certainly, this is a terrible sign of European solidarity.”
Italian doctors are scrambling to make room for an influx of thousands of coronavirus patients. The country has over 12,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with most of those concentrated in the northern region of Lombardy. Italy had reported over 800 deaths from the coronavirus by Wednesday afternoon.
China Eastern Airlines’ a350 departed for rome, italy from shanghai, bringing 9 chinese medical experts and 31 tons of medical supplies, including plasma of recovered coronavirus patients, to help italy fight against the virus.