Prague has announced that the army will be drafted in to build a new, 500 bed, field hospital to deal with the Czech Republic’s soaring coronavirus infections. The Czech leader claimed the “numbers are very catastrophic.”
Speaking on Thursday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis gave his bleak assessment of the nation’s Covid-19 pandemic as he left for an EU summit in Brussels.
We don’t have time, the forecast is not good, the numbers are catastrophic, and it is really very hurried.
The PM said that the authorities needed to work quickly to increase the country’s medical capacity, noting that the army and the central crisis staff should start work on a field hospital this weekend. “We need to build spare capacity urgently, this is an absolute task,” he said.
Interior minister Jan Hamacek gave a more detailed assessment of the government’s plan. He said that the temporary medical facility would be built at the Letnany Exhibition Center and will have a capacity of 500 beds. Hamacek claimed the army would start work on Saturday.
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Babis said that the Czech Republic would not rely on the promise of help from neighboring countries, noting that “the disease is rising everywhere” across Europe and that he wanted to do everything “to manage it at home.”
On Wednesday, the country registered 9,544 new Covid-19 infections, the most in a single day since the onset of the pandemic. The coronavirus infection rate is now the highest in Europe, with 586 new cases per 100,000 people in a week.
According to the health ministry, there are currently 2,678 patients in Czech hospitals who have the virus. To date, the Czech Republic has recorded 139,290 cases and 1,172 fatalities.
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