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POLITICS

Russia begins withdrawing military virus experts from Italy

Russia on Thursday began withdrawing military experts and medics sent to Italy during the height of the coronavirus pandemic as part of an aid effort that critics said carried political overtones.

Russia begins withdrawing military virus experts from Italy
Russian Army specialists in Lombardy, Italy, on April 28th. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

an”We will begin the pullout of radiation, chemical and biological protection units from Italy,” Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting of military leaders on Wednesday.

He said the military would host a ceremony to mark their return and asked for “proposals for the promotion of distinguished military personnel, doctors and all those who were involved in disinfection in cities and facilities in Italy”.

Russia has sent military planes with specialists and equipment to countries including Italy, China and the United States, gestures that have prompted criticism from some Russians over using crucial resources for geopolitical aims.

Moscow said in March when the programme began that the aid for Italy included protective equipment and about 100 virus specialists with experience dealing with Ebola and swine fever.

et Italian media reported that much of the equipment was not useful in the fight against the virus, sparking a diplomatic spat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Italy in July last year and has often spoken of his long friendship with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

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HEALTH

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Italy on Thursday reported its first case of monkeypox, joining a number of other European and North American nations in detecting the disease endemic in parts of Africa.

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Monkeypox was identified in a young adult who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, Rome’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases said.

He is being treated in isolation and is in a reasonable condition, it said in a statement carried by Italian news agencies, adding that two other suspected cases were being investigated.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for the Lazio region that includes Rome, confirmed on social media that it was the country’s first case, adding that the situation was being “constantly monitored”.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Spain and Portugal – where more than 40 possible and verified cases have been reported – as well as Britain, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.

Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than smallpox’s: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.

Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was coordinating with UK and European health officials over the new outbreaks.

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