In the Czech Republic, the rise of COVID-19 patients is intensifying the pressure at hospitals. The Health Ministry describes the situation as critical with more than 120,000 active cases at the moment.
The regional hospital in Karlovy-Vary in West Bohemia receives covid patients from the surrounding area, including from badly hit regions of Cheb and Sokolov. The intensive care unit is now almost full to capacity.
“This morning we had six beds left in the ICU ward but this number could change in an hour and in two hours everything can change again,” said Vladislav Podracky, Spokesperson, Karlovy Vary Hospital.
The situation is not about to improve any time soon. The doctors, as well as nurses and all the medical staff, are exhausted.
“We are trying to solve the situation by transporting patients to nearby hospitals," added Podracky, "About 10 to 15 patients are sent to neighbouring hospitals each day.”
But the health ministry says the issue now is the available resources.
“The capacity of ICU beds in our state will be exhausted in two weeks,” said Vladimir Cerny, Czech Republic Deputy Health Minister.
Czech officials are planning to ask for help abroad when the number of remaining beds reaches 10%.
“The Czech Republic has never been in a situation like this,” added Cerny.
The daily number of new COVID cases is still around 11,000 people. Among the latest to test positive is ex-president Vaclav Klaus who refused to wear a mask in public, saying it was a restriction of human rights.
From 25 February, the Czech Republic government has ordered the wearing of FFP2 face masks in all public places and on transport and has warned that newer, stronger regulations could follow.