The government has signed a contract with China to supply 100 million face masks to help fight Italy's dramatic coronavirus outbreak, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio stated Thursday on Facebook.
"I have in my hand a contract already signed for 100 million face masks that will be made (in China) for Italy and will arrive here in the coming days. Doctors, nurses and health workers have been working tirelessly these past weeks and continue to," read the post.
"To allow them to act safely, also taking care of their health, they need adequate equipment, for this reason, we need to obtain as many medical supplies as we can."
A further eight million masks have now cleared customs and are arriving from various countries around the world, Di Maio stated.
"We are equipping ourselves as best we can to fight this accursed virus," Di Maio underlined.
Di Maio urged citizens to behave "responsibly" during the current national lockdown, warning that "more stringent" measures may be introduced as Italy's coronavirus infections and deaths continue to soar.
Italy's coronavirus death-toll overtook China's on Thursday to reach 3,405 while positive cases stood at 41,035 - more than half the global total.