'Host a Hero': helping health workers keep their families safe

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By Laura Ruiz Trullols, Jack Parrock
An ICU in Porto, Portugal.
An ICU in Porto, Portugal.   -   Copyright  Euronews

Health workers are facing tough choices. Working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic puts them at risk, as well as their loved ones. But new initiatives are popping up to help them.

Marta is a nurse in Lisbon treating patients with COVID-19. She knows she is at a higher risk of getting infected, so to protect her loved ones, she's living under a different roof for a few weeks.

"It's very important for us to have a separate place to sleep, and to have a shower other than the one our family uses. We want to protect them as much as possible," Marta explains.

She found a new place to stay thanks to ''Host a Hero'', an online platform created by a Portuguese communications agency that puts owners of empty houses in touch with health workers in need of a temporary new home.

"We have a team that is only working in this project and it is going to continue because the fight is going to continue for more weeks," says Miguel Moura, from hostahero.online.

"It is very important for us to be very quick. When a health worker requests a home it is because there is a real need, so we need to act fast to find a match, put them together and help them as much as we can."

The website is now up and running in seven languages (English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German and Greek) to help doctors and nurses in similar situations across Europe.

"I spend my days, like many other workers around the world, focused on fighting this COVID-19 pandemic. However, during the night my anxiety is related to the possibility of infecting my family," explains Raquel, a doctor at Alcabideche Health Center, in Portugal.