Inside the intensive care unit at Prague’s Na Bulovce Hospital some patients are hooked up to ventilators through tracheostomy tubes, others are lying face down, to help them breathe. The doctors and nurses don head-to-toe hazmat suits; as coronavirus cases surge in the Czech Republic, the country can’t afford to have health workers sidelined by the virus.There are currently more new Covid-19 cases per million people recorded in the Czech Republic than in any other major country in the world. On Friday, more than 11,100 new cases were reported in a single day, a new record. In the first 17 days of October, more people have died of the virus in the Czech Republic than during the previous eight months of the epidemic combined.
The Czech Medical Chamber and the health minister have called on Czech doctors living abroad to return home to help fight the virus. Medical students and people with medical training have also been encouraged to come forward. More than 1,000 qualified nurses who’ve left the profession have offered to come back to help.For now, the Na Bulovce hospital has enough beds for everyone. But it’s preparing for the worst.”We have other back-up beds prepared in other departments in case the capacity exceeds our current possibilities,” said Dr. Hana Rohacova, the head doctor at the hospital’s infection disease clinic. This weekend, the government began setting up a temporary field hospital in Prague. Czech Health Minister Dr. Roman Prymula told CNN he expects the extra beds will be needed as soon as the end of this month.It’s a stunning development. Less than two months ago, the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis boasted his country was among the “best in Covid.”
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