Cuban doctors arrive in Italy to battle virus

Holding the Cuban flag and wearing surgical masks Cuban doctors arrived in Italy on Sunday (March 22).

The group of 36 doctors, 15 nurses and a logistics expert have been deployed to help with the coroanvirus, at the request of the worst affected region Lombardy.

Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus with over 5,400 deaths - a death toll that has now surpassed China's.

Communist-run Cuba - has one of the highest ratios worldwide of physicians per capita, its doctors have been on the front lines in man crises including the fight against cholera in Haiti and against Ebola in West Africa.

But this - is their first mission in Cuba's so-called 'medical diplomacy' to Italy.

Leader of the group, Carlos Perez Diaz, said the medical brigade was ready to support the people of Italy:

SOUNDBITE) (English) LEADER OF GROUP OF CUBAN DOCTORS, CARLOS PÉREZ DÍAZ, SAYING:

"Our government sent us here to bring our solidarity here."

Aware of the long days ahead of them, the doctor Gracilliano Diaz said there was no doubt it would be a challenge to stop the spread of the virus.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN DOCTOR TRAVELLING TO ITALY, GRACILIANO DIAZ, SAYING:

"We're all afraid, but there is revolutionary work to do. Fear can be controlled and put to the side. Whoever says that he isn't afraid is a superhero and we are not superheroes; we are revolutionary doctors."

This is the sixth medical brigade Cuba has sent in recent days "armies of white robes" have also been sent to countries including Jamaica, Venezuela and others.

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