Prague, Czech Republic – One of the hardest-hit countries in the world at the moment, the Czech Republic is turning to its neighbours and allies for help in fighting a deepening coronavirus outbreak.
A number of EU and NATO allies have pledged assistance to the Czech Republic in its fight to stem the spread of coronavirus and avoid a collapse of the country’s healthcare system.
This week, Hungary and the Netherlands have promised to send 150 and 105 ventilators each. Austria has also pledged to send some medical equipment to its northern neighbour, while up to 60 ventilators could be mobilized from NATO’s central reserves.
In a video published a few days ago, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen declared the EU sent 30 additional ventilators from rescEU, the EU medical equipment crisis reserves created in the spring.
With one of the world’s highest rates of infection per capita, the Czech Republic’s healthcare system is edging closer to saturation. According to Prime Minister Andrej Babis, hospitals could have been completely overran before mid-November if the government hadn’t ordered a near-full lockdown on Wednesday.
According to official data, there are slightly less than 2,000 hospital beds equipped with artificial lung ventilators in the Czech Republic, and more than half of them are already occupied.
The Czech Army has also been mobilized to build a field hospital on the outskirts of Prague this week-end (see cover picture).
But with a growing number of medical staff infected with COVID-19, hospital beds are not the only critical element that might soon be lacking. To help Czech doctors, the U.S. is sending a team of 28 military medical staff from the Nebraska and Texas National Guards, due to arrive in the country at the end of next week.
The Czech Republic is also in discussion with Germany for possible assistance.
Main photo credit: Rob Cameron via Twitter