Czechs look to other nations to treat their COVID-19 patients

With hospitals in parts of the Czech Republic full, the country has turned to Germany and other European countries for help.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said on Wednesday that neighboring Germany had offered dozens of beds in its hospitals to treat Czech patients with COVID-19. He said 19 of them were immediately ready.

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

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

Some hospitals in the west of the Czech Republic near the German border, in the center of the country around Prague and in the Pardubice region east of Prague can no longer admit patients and must be transported to clinics elsewhere in the country. It was not immediately clear when the patients could be taken overseas.

“This is a situation we have never experienced before,” said Martin Netolicky, governor of the Pardubice region.

In the latest measures, the government ordered mandatory mass tests for employees of private companies. Those with more than 250 employees started doing so on Wednesday, while those with 50 or more employees follow on Friday.

Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek said he was considering offering the same measures for public employees. Health Minister Jan Blatny wanted to order medical staff from outpatient clinics to serve in hospitals.

In addition, specialty clinics that have not treated patients with COVID-19 may be ordered to start doing so.

With 1,120 cases, the Czech Republic had by far the highest 14-day notification rate per 100,000 population, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

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