The current global health crisis, brought about by the spread of coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on Europe, especially on my own home country of Italy. So far, some 20,000 people have tragically lost their lives to COVID-19. Up and down the country, people mourn the loss of their mothers, fathers, grandparents, and in some limited tragic cases, their children. Perhaps at this point we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and we know that we will finally overcome this crisis.
No-one chose to fight this disease, and yet thanks to the criminal negligence of the Chinese Communist Party, we are forced to. However, we have taken comfort in knowing that we are not fighting this totally alone. We, here in Italy, are glad to know that we can count of the support of our friends in Poland.
Since the start of this crisis, the Polish government and people have sent us a great deal of support. We are thankful for the Polish doctors who came and supported us in Lombardy, specifically in the field hospital in Brescia, to treat our sick. We are also thankful for the aid that has been sent in the form of medicine and protective equipment including 20,000 litres of disinfectant.
It is in times like these that we value solidarity between nation states across Europe and will need to strengthen those bonds further when it comes to repairing the damage done to the economy after this. And even more so when it comes to standing together on the world stage in defending our way of life from the growing external threats including those posed by China itself.
And I can say this in full awareness because the Italian government was one the first EU and NATO countries to sign the MoU on the new Silk Road with the Chinese presidency. And one of the most convinced in developing 5G technology, regardless of security and sovereignty issues.
When all is said and done, both Poland and Italy must stand together against these growing threats. We must be sure to send a clear message to the Chinese that this crisis has not divided us and that we will not allow their negligence to go unanswered. This virus started because their communist party lied to the world, and because they failed to act.
Through the support sent by the Polish government we have already started to send that message of unity. The support that the Polish government has offered the Italian people will not be forgotten. You have the appreciation of an entire nation.