A team of European doctors and nurses from Romania and Norway, deployed through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, is being immediately dispatched to Milan and Bergamo to help Italian medical staff battling coronavirus. Austria has also offered over 3,000 litres of disinfectant to Italy via the Mechanism. The Commission will coordinate and co-finance this European assistance.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “These nurses and doctors, who left their homes to help their colleagues in other Member States are the true faces of European solidarity. The whole of Europe is proud of you. The Commission is doing everything it can to help Italy and all our Member States at this time of great need.”
The EU’s Copernicus satellite system has also been activated by Italy to map health facilities and public spaces during the coronavirus emergency.
Yesterday, Italy received, in addition, a delivery of personal protective equipment coordinated through the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre. Several EU Member States have also sent protective equipment such as masks, overalls and ventilators to Italy, as well taking in Italian patients for treatment in their countries.
Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management said: “I thank Romania, Norway and Austria for coming to Italy’s support in a time that is so difficult for the whole continent. This is EU solidarity in action. Our EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre is working 24/7 with all Member States to make sure help is channelled to where it’s most needed.”
Norway is a full member of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Part of the Norwegian medical team mobilised to help Italy had already been deployed in December last year, via the Mechanism, to tackle the measles outbreak in Samoa. The Emergency Response Coordination Centre is the heart of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and coordinates the delivery of assistance to disaster-stricken countries, such as relief items, expertise, civil protection teams and specialised equipment. The centre ensures the rapid deployment of emergency support and acts as a coordination hub between all EU Member States and the 6 additional Participating States, the affected country, and civil protection and humanitarian experts.