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A planeload of medical supplies, including masks and respirators, has arrived in Italy from China to help the European country deal with its growing coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus outbreak began in China late last year, but has since swept the globe.

Italy is now the worst-affected nation in the world after China, since the contagion came to light there on February 21.

The outbreak risks overwhelming Italian hospitals, and some key supplies are running low.

In contrast to China, Italy’s partners in the European Union earlier this month refused Rome’s requests for help with medical supplies as they looked to stockpile face masks and other equipment to help their own citizens.

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