Covid-19: Italy bids farewell to Cuban doctors

Cuban medical team returns home after helping Italy in fight against covid-19.

Cuba's 52-member medical team has completed its mission to help Italy's northern Lombardy region combat the coronavirus pandemic, returning to Havana on 7 June.

The team's arrival in Cuba was streamed live on state television, with Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel leading a welcoming party at José Martí airport.

Under the flags of Cuba and Italy, each of the 52 medics received a flower and received a hero's welcome from thousands of locals waving from balconies.

The team, which comprised 36 doctors, 15 nurses and a logistics specialist, had been at Italy's service since 22 March.

All 52 members of the mission will spend two weeks in isolation at Las Praderas medical centre in the outskirts of Havana.

The head of the team, Carlos Perez, said their focus had been on saving lives. "Abiding by all security measures and health protocols, we fulfilled our commitment of returning safe and sound, and with the mission accomplished," he said.

Since the outbreak of covid-19, Cuba has sent 34 medical brigades to 27 countries that have requested help.