Interview: Friendship with Chinese cities counts, says deputy mayor of Italy's Padova

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by Grandesso Federico

PADOVA, Italy, April 9 (Xinhua) -- After receiving the latest batch of medical supplies - 50,000 masks - this week from its sister city of Handan in north China, Italian city Padova's deputy mayor Arturo Lorenzoni said they will be distributed to the "angels on the frontline." The friendship counts amid the current pandemic.

The masks, the latest of a total of 450,000 from Guangzhou, Handan and Xi'an - all Chinese cities - will go to doctors, nurses, workers at homes for the elderly, police and civil servants in the city in northern Italy which has been hit hard by the coronavirus.

The biggest challenge of Padova is the fight against coronavirus. "Thanks to a government measure, we were able to distribute very quickly the first 'food vouchers' of 20 euros each to potentially 7,000 people in need, for one month's time. Now the danger in this area is that many entrepreneurial activities would stop forever. For this reason, it is key to find the financial resources to help them," the deputy mayor said.

Lorenzoni said they were amazed by solidarity coming from Guangzhou, Handan, and Xi'an. "All these Chinese cities sent medical equipment to help us," he added.

"The relation between Padova and Guangzhou originated from the collaboration between two universities through the Confucius Institute. Since the beginning, I had been part of the discussion as a member of the board of the Confucius Institute in Padova. Already at the time, I saw the potential of collaboration not only between the two universities, but also between the two cities," Lorenzoni said.

When taking office as deputy mayor in Padova, Lorenzoni heralded a partnership with Guangzhou to expand their ties to more areas, for example in ports.

"Seeing the importance of the Chinese ports, I hope we could be able to build up an efficient logistic collaboration in this regard, in Padova, also in Veneto," he noted.

The Italian official believes that after every night there is a dawn.

"We start to see light after this very difficult period. We accumulated huge experience in dealing with the virus and I think that our health care system is now prepared even to help other areas. I hope that these difficult days could bring more 'openness', as only through cooperation can we get out of this difficult period," he added. Enditem

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