A health worker holds a Covid-19 swab test tube in a drive-through testing center in Prague, Czech Republic on October 13. Milan Jaros / Bloomberg / Getty Images
In the intensive care unit at the Na Bulovce Hospital in Prague, some patients are connected to ventilators via tracheostomy tubes, while others lie face down to make breathing easier. Doctors and nurses put on protective suits from head to toe. With coronavirus cases rising in the Czech Republic, the country cannot afford to have health workers excluded from the virus.
Currently, more new Covid-19 cases per million people are registered in the Czech Republic than in any other large country in the world. More than 11,100 new cases were reported in a single day on Friday, a new record. More people died from the virus in the Czech Republic in the first 17 days of October than in the last eight months of the epidemic combined.
The Czech Medical Association and the Minister of Health have urged Czech doctors living abroad to return home to help fight the virus. Medical students and those with medical training were also encouraged to come forward. More than 1,000 qualified nurses who have left the profession have offered to help again.
At the moment Na Bulovce Hospital has enough beds for everyone. But it is preparing for the worst.
“We have prepared other support beds in other departments in case the capacity exceeds our current capabilities,” said Dr. Hana Rohacova, the chief physician of the infectious diseases clinic at the hospital. This weekend the government started setting up a temporary field hospital in Prague. The Czech Minister of Health Dr. Roman Prymula told CNN that he expected the extra beds to be needed by the end of this month.
It’s an amazing development. Less than two months ago, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis boasted that his country was one of the “best in Covid”.
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