A team of 14 medical experts from east China's Fujian Province departed on a chartered flight to Italy on Wednesday morning to aid the European country's fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
The team consists of experts from several hospitals and the center for disease control and prevention (CDC) of Fujian, as well as an epidemiologist from the national CDC and a pulmonologist of Anhui Province.
The experts specialize in areas including respiratory, intensive care, infectious disease, hospital infection control, traditional Chinese medicine and nursing.
Their missions will include sharing experience in COVID-19 prevention and control with local hospitals and experts and providing treatment advice.
They will also provide disease prevention and control know-how to Chinese communities and students in Italy, and offer them protective supplies and traditional Chinese medicines.
The experts will mainly work in the Tuscany region of Italy.
The flight took off at about 11:10 a.m. from Fuzhou Changle International Airport and is scheduled to arrive in Milan at 4:45 p.m. local time.
Also on board the plane were about eight tonnes of medical supplies donated by the province, including 30 ventilators, 20 sets of medical monitors, 3,000 protective suits, 300,000 medical masks, 20,000 N95 masks and 3,000 face shields.
Previously, China sent two medical groups with a total of 22 people along with more than 20 tonnes of medical supplies to support Italy's epidemic fight.
COVID-19 had claimed 6,820 lives as of Tuesday evening in Italy, which has lost more lives than any other country to the pandemic. The cumulative number of the novel coronavirus cases in Italy reached 69,176, the largest number outside China.
Huang Yu, a provincial health official and leader of the team, said China has acquired extensive experience in its fight against the disease, and they are ready to share it with their Italian colleagues.
"We are honored to be given the task assigned by our country, and we will do our best to help the Italian people tide over the difficulties," Huang said.
Xu Nengluan, director of the infectious diseases department of Fujian Provincial Hospital, has been treating COVID-19 patients for over two months.
"For our medics, saving lives knows no borders," Xu said, commenting on his new task in Italy.
The Chinese government has announced assistance to 82 countries, the World Health Organization and the African Union, including test kits, masks and protective suits. Many batches of supplies have reached the recipients, China's foreign ministry said last Friday.