Coronavirus: Albania sends doctors to help Italy

Albania flies medical team to Italy to help battle Covid-19 crisis.

Albania has flown a team of doctors and nurses to Italy to help it deal with the Coronavirus pandemic in the north of the country.

The 30 doctors and nurses arrived in Rome on 28 March before making their way north to Bergamo, the epicentre of Italy's Covid-19 emergency.

The government of Albania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, has funded the medical team, whose members volunteered to work for one month in hospitals in the Bergamo area.

Albania's premier Edi Rama announced the news in a Facebook video, speaking in Albanian and Italian.

Rama said that the idea of Albania sending help to Italy from its "small army of white coats" might seem "strange" to some people, adding that it was "true that very rich countries have turned their backs on others."

"However perhaps it is also because we are not rich, or without memory, that we cannot afford not to show Italy that Albania and the Albanians never abandon a friend in difficulty", said Rama.

Italy has come to the aid of Albania at various times in recent decades, and around 400,000 Albanians live and work in Italy. Albania sees the medical assistance as a chance to repay the help, however small its contribution.

The Italian embassy in Tirana tweeted: “Thanks to the Albanian government for this act of solidarity and affection! #forever united”.