Photos: People's Daily/Han Shuo
ROME, March 12 (Xinhua) -- A charter flight carrying a 9-member Chinese aid team, along with tonnes of medical supplies, arrived at Rome's Fiumicino Airport on Thursday night, in part of China's efforts to help Italy contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Airbus A-350 wide body airliner, from China Eastern, landed around 22:30 local time at the cargo zone of the airport, greeted by a crowd of local experts from the Italian Red Cross and delegates from the Chinese Embassy to Italy.
The team was organized by the National Health Commission and the Red Cross Society of China. It is the third expert team sent abroad by Chinese authorities following previous teams sent to Iran and Iraq.
The expert corps departed Shanghai earlier Thursday, and all the team members and flight crew had passed health checks before they boarded the plane, according to the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.
They took with them more than 700 pieces of equipment and goods prepared by the Ruijin Hospital of the School of Medicine at Shanghai Jiaotong University, including ventilators, monitors and defibrillators.
"It's for setting up an intensive care unit for patients infected with COVID-19," said Chen Haitao, deputy head of the hospital. "According to the requirements of the Italian side, we selected equipment proven to be useful during clinical practices."
The Chinese experts and equipment arrived two days after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy topped 10,000.
Hardest hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, Italy has toughened its measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and the whole country has been under quarantine for three days.
"Quite a lot of Italian doctors and medical experts want to come and show their gratitude to their Chinese colleagues, but not everyone could be allowed to go out of the town at this special moment," said a source from the Italian Red Cross.