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Romania's hospitals overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP
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Romania's hospitals overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients
Copyright  Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Romania's health service has been overwhelmed by unvaccinated patients in the midst of a brutal fourth wave of COVID-19.

In Bucharest, ambulances have had to queue outside the Matei Bals Infectious Diseases Hospital where beds are being set up in corridors.

There have been 15,828 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours in a country with a population of about 19 million.

At least 365 people have died in this period and the pandemic death toll now stands at 41,482.

Many Romanians are distrustful of the authorities' pleas to get a vaccine, which is partly a legacy of living under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Many are also susceptible to misinformation circulating online that vaccines are ineffective or worse, dangerous.

In Europe, only Bulgaria has vaccinated less of its population than Romania.

Only about a third of Romanians have been vaccinated and the consequences of the low uptake are all too clear, according to the hospital's medical director.

"Some 90 per cent of the hospitalised patients are not vaccinated, between 92 and 95 of them. Practically, those who are vaccinated are the exceptions when it comes to hospitalization," Adrian Marinescu said on Friday