Cuba has dispatched 52 doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help in the fight against the coronavirus disease at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy.
KanyiDaily had reported that the death toll from the disease in Italy rose by 651 to 5,476 on Sunday, an increase of 13.5%, but down on Saturday’s figure when 793 people died in one day.
Cuban doctors were in the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against Ebola in West Africa 10 years ago.
For 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.
Speaking on Saturday shortly before the doctor’s departure, Leonardo Fernandez, a 68-year-old intensive care specialist, Leonardo Fernandez, told Reuters:
“We are all afraid but we have a revolutionary duty to fulfill, so we take out fear and put it to one side.
“He who says he is not afraid is a superhero, but we are not superheroes, we are revolutionary doctors.”
Fernandez said this would be his eighth international mission, including one in Liberia during the fight against Ebola.
This is the sixth medical practitioners Cuba has sent in recent days to combat the spread of the new disease abroad. It has sent contingents to socialist allies Venezuela and Nicaragua as well as Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada.
Cuban 🇨🇺 Doctors 🥼 arriving in #Italy to fight corona virus 🦠 "The next evolutionary step for humankind is to move from man to kind. " this virus won't win we are in this together #PrayForItaly 🇮🇹 #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/LKgZbErSZn
— NasasiraArnold🇺🇬 (@NasasiraArnold) March 23, 2020
Cuban doctors arriving into Italy to support the fight against Covid-19. Throughout most pandemics of the 21st century Cuban doctors have been at the forefront of the medical response, no matter what the country. pic.twitter.com/DxiVLWMeIT
— Frankie Leach (@francesleach_) March 22, 2020