Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Czech Republic turns to other nations to treat its COVID-19 patients

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2021 | 2:46 PM
An elderly woman receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a sports hall in Ricany, Czech Republic, Friday, February 26, 2021. With new infections soaring due to a highly contagious coronavirus variant and hospitals filling up, one of the hardest-hit countries in the European Union is facing inevitable: a tighter lockdown. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — With hospitals in some parts of the Czech Republic filled up, the country turned to Germany and other European countries with a request for help.

The Czech Republic, one of the hardest-hit European Union countries, has been facing a surge of new cases attributed to a highly infectious coronavirus variant that is believed to originate in Britain.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said on Wednesday neighbouring Germany has offered dozens of beds in its hospitals to treat Czech COVID-19 patients.

He said 19 of them were immediately ready.

Hamacek said that Switzerland was another country ready to help with 20 beds in its hospitals while offering to take care of the transport of the patients.

Talks were also underway with Poland to provide around 200 beds.

After the day-to-day increase of new confirmed cases reached 16,642 on Tuesday, the fourth-highest since the start of the pandemic, a record of more than 8,000 COVID-19 patients needed hospitalisation.

Some hospitals in western Czech Republic near the German border, the central part of the country around Prague, and the Pardubice region east of Prague couldn’t admit any more patients and they have to be transported to clinics elsewhere in the country.

It wasn’t immediately clear when patients might be taken abroad.

“It’s a situation we’ve never experienced before,” Martin Netolicky, the governor of the Pardubice region told Czech public radio about the full hospitals.

In the latest measures, the government ordered mandatory mass testing of employees in private firms.

Those with more than 250 workers started to do it on Wednesday while those with at least 50 employees follow on Friday.

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