Cuba sends for the first time a medical brigade to Italy to stop the coronavirus

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HAVANA, Mar 21 (Reuters) – Cuba’s doctors and nurses said on Saturday they were ready to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in the Lombardy region of Italy, one of the nations that for the first time has requested the cooperation of professionals. of the Caribbean island.

The Cuban brigade, which will travel to Italy on Saturday night, is made up of 36 doctors, 15 nurses and a logistics expert. Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, overcoming 4,000 deaths from the disease on Friday.

“We are all afraid. But there is a revolutionary task to fulfill, fear is controlled and put aside,” Dr. Leonardo Fernández, 68, a specialist in internal medicine and intensive care, told Reuters.

Fernández, who along with the rest of the brigade waved small flags of Cuba and Italy in his hands, said Lombardy will be his eighth medical mission, including the battle against Ebola in Liberia.

“Whoever says he is not afraid is a superhero and we are doctors,” he said.

Cuba is recognized for its preparation for natural disasters and epidemics for the skill and will of its doctors and nurses. Cuban medical cooperation has spread to countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, including Venezuela and Nicaragua, two of its allies in the region.

“For me this collaboration constitutes a challenge and for Cuban medicine even more. We are going to fulfill an honorable task, based on the principle of solidarity,” said Dr. Graciliano Díaz, 64 years old.

Cuba has 8.2 doctors for every 1,000 inhabitants, one of the highest rates in the world, according to the World Bank. This is the sixth medical brigade to travel recently to cooperate in fighting the deadly outbreak. Cuban doctors previously traveled to Jamaica, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Suriname and Granada, seeking to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

(Report by Nelson Acosta, Edited by Juana Casas)

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