MANCHESTER, March 13 — As Italy scrambles to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Malaysian Embassy in Rome is on high alert to help Malaysians in the locked-down cities and, in fact, has gone beyond its call of duty to send out care packages to citizens in affected areas.
It is understood that the packages, which truly showcased “Malaysian Hospitality”, included hand sanitiser, wipes, disinfectant, masks, Maggi noodles, durian dodol, serunding and Brahims rendang among others.
When contacted, its First Secretary (Political Affairs) Zebine Nissa Sarfraz confirmed to Bernama on the care packages and said that it was in constant contact with Malaysians there.
“There are 11 red zones announced by the Italian government earlier. (We have Malaysian students out of the red zone but in the vicinity). The embassy has distributed care packages to Malaysians living in the red zones,” she said via e-mail.
Asked if there would be any briefing for Malaysians in Italy on the situation, she said the embassy is likely to avoid any gatherings for now.
“But we still welcome Malaysians here to walk in and seek assistance, especially consular services. Most importantly, we want to be in touch with Malaysians here. We also want them to reach out to us,” she added.
On Wednesday, Italy announced that all stores, excluding pharmacies and food outlets, in the country of 60 million population will be closed as the Covid-19 cases, which originated in Wuhan, China, had spiked to 12,462 cases from just three in less than three weeks.
The death toll in Italy stands at 827.
Yesterday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 as a pandemic, a disease that is fast spreading with a total of 126,000 people diagnosed across 114 countries so far.
Since the outbreak, more than 4,600 people have died, with 3,000 in China alone.