Coronavirus: Trump orders US govt to provide Italy with supplies, relief

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US President Donald Trump on Friday ordered top US administration officials to help Italy in fighting the novel coronavirus by providing medical supplies, humanitarian relief and other assistance.

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In a memo to several Cabinet ministers, Trump ordered a variety of measures to help Italy, including making US military personnel in the country available for telemedicine services, helping set up field hospitals, and transporting supplies.

“The Italian Republic (Italy), one of our closest and oldest Allies, is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already claimed more than 18,000 lives, brought much of the Italian healthcare system to the brink of collapse, and threatens to push Italy’s economy into a deep recession,” Trump said in the memo.

Italy has recorded the biggest number of deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, followed by the United States.

Trump ordered his commerce secretary to encourage US suppliers to sell products requested by Italian authorities and healthcare providers, except those required for the United States’ own response to the pandemic.

The memo said the secretary of state, the head of the US Agency for International Development and the president of the US Export-Import Bank “may use available authorities to support the recovery of the Italian economy.”

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