An experienced team of 20 doctors and nurses from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center flew to northern Italy at midnight on Dec. 2 to assist a local hospital dealing with a serious outbreak of COVID-19.

This is the first time that Sheba has sent coronavirus care experts to assist another nation in need.

The 10-day mission was initiated following an appeal from the governor of the Piedmont District to Dror Eydar, Israel’s ambassador to Italy.

Eydar immediately arranged for the medical mission in coordination with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the ministries of health in Israel and Italy.

The delegation is headed by Dr. Elhanan Bar-On, whom Israel21c profiled last month. As head of the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response, founded in 2017 at Sheba, Bar-On travels the world lending his expertise in areas of urgent need.

Statistics from Dec. 1 show the total number of coronavirus cases in the Piedmont region topped 169,000. Currently, 4,652 coronavirus patients are hospitalized there—377 of them in intensive care, which is straining local capacity in terms of staff and equipment.

This article was first published by Israel21c.

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