PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Republic has asked Germany, Switzerland and Poland to take in dozens of COVID-19 patients as the situation in its own hospitals has reached a critical point, Prague’s Health Ministry said on Friday.
The country of 10.7 million has been one of the hardest-hit globally in recent weeks as many regional hospitals, overwhelmed by the inflow of coronavirus patients, had to transfer them elsewhere, in some cases taking them hundreds of miles away.
“The large number of newly infected patients has intensified pressure on the healthcare system, and the number of patients requiring hospitalization is growing,” the ministry said.
As of Friday morning, there were 8,153 COVID patients hospitalized, including 1,735 requiring intensive care, Health Ministry data showed.
“In some regions, the hospitals have exhausted their capacity and they are no longer able to provide appropriate care or to accept new patients without help from others,” Health Minister Jan Blatny said in the release.
Across the country, 13% of the overall intensive care capacity was available, while in the capital Prague, the free capacity was at 5%.
Neighboring Slovakia transferred its first coronavirus patients abroad this week as its hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients.
(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Hugh Lawson)