Coronavirus: Russian soldiers, medical staff to start returning home from Italy

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Russian soldiers and medical workers providing coronavirus assistance in Italy will start returning to Russia from Thursday, the Interfax news agency cited defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying on Wednesday.

Russia began sending doctors, nurses and medical equipment to disease-stricken Italy in late March in a goodwill operation that Moscow dubbed “From Russia with love.”

Russia has reported more than 10,500 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the national total over 165,000, including about 1,500 deaths.

The country’s health officials have been reporting more than 10,000 new cases for the fourth day in a row. The caseload is likely to be much higher as not everyone is being tested, and many people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms.

Russia has been in lockdown since late March, with most regions requiring residents to stay at home and suspending operation of most businesses.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin extended the lockdown till May 11.

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