15:40 GMT17 April 2021
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    Nations Continue to Fight COVID-19 Crisis as Over 2.5 Million People Infected Globally (239)

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Defence Ministry will start on Thursday withdrawing from Italy the nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection troops that provided COVID-19 response assistance to the country, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

    "Tomorrow, we will start withdrawing NBC protection troops from Italy. I ask the chief of the General Staff to organize a solemn reception of the interservice teams, and to provide me with offers on stimulation for the distinguished military, doctors and all those who engaged in the disinfection of Italy's cities and facilities," Shoigu said.

    Since March 22, 15 Russian military aircraft, carrying virology and epidemiology experts of the Defence Ministry, have arrived in Italy to assist the coronavirus response and deliver equipment for diagnostics and disinfection.

    As the number of active coronavirus cases in Italy continues to decline, the country has recently reported its lowest daily increase in the COVID-19 death toll since mid-March.

    Amid the ongoing positive tendency, the government has introduced the first relaxation measures of its nationwide quarantine that came into force on 4 May. 

    However, citizens will have to wait until 18 May to see retail stores and museums open, and beauty salons, hairdressers, bars and restaurants will only open on 1 June.

    Once being one of the hardest-hit countries, as of Wednesday, Italy has nearly 212,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 29,000 fatalities.

    Nations Continue to Fight COVID-19 Crisis as Over 2.5 Million People Infected Globally (239)
    disinfector, Sergei Shoigu, coronavirus, COVID-19, Italy, Russian Defense Ministry, Russia
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