Italian Prime Minister: Our Coronavirus Response ‘Has Not Been Perfect’

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte speaks during a press conference on economic measures to help facing consequences of the virus outbreak, in Rome, Thursday, March 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said this week that his country’s response to the Chinese coronavirus “has not been perfect” but that Italy’s model is nonetheless being used by other nations that are trying to combat the Wuhan virus.

“You have to consider that Italy has been the first country in Europe to face this pandemic,” said Conte in a recent interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “Our response has not been perfect, maybe, but we have been acting to the best of our knowledge”:

The prime minister added, “Today, I see that our model is being implemented by other countries, and its validity has been acknowledged by the WHO, and the results so far indicate that we are on the right path.”

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump called out the World Health Organization [WHO] for being “very China centric” and revealed that his administration will be giving the organization “a good look” regarding funding from the United States:

In his interview with Meet the Press, Prime Minister Conte also thanked President Trump for proving once again that the United States is a true friend to Italy.

“In these difficult times, I can openly say that American President Trump once [again] has proven to be Italy’s true and loyal friend,” said Conte. “I want to thank President Trump, who immediately made us feel his support and presence, and I am very grateful to the American people for this.”

Last week, President Trump said that the United States will send $100 million worth of medical equipment to Italy for combating the coronavirus.

The Italian prime minister also mentioned that “in this moment,” he cannot say when Italy’s nationwide lockdown will end. “We are following the suggestions of our scientists,” he stated.

“Therefore, the most important message to give to our citizens is stay home as much as possible. Do not go, do not go out, and if you must leave your home, for example, to go to work or to buy food, always inspect all surfaces you use,” he added.

“We are asking our people a great sacrifice. I am aware of it,” said Conte. “But it is the only way to defeat the pandemic altogether. The more we respect the rules, the sooner we will get out.”

As of Thursday, 18,279 people have died in Italy from the Wuhan coronavirus.

Conte went on to call for a global ceasefire among all nations that are currently in conflict so the world can fight this “invisible enemy” together.

“In this moment, we are all in the same battle,” he said. “We are fighting the same powerful and invisible enemy. All countries in the world are hit, and we are all on the frontlines.”

“It is time for all the parties in conflict to stop fighting each other and unite against an enemy which won’t make a difference and will kill them all,” he said.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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