Prime Minister Andrej Babiš believes that there is no reason for the state to request aid from abroad regarding the current epidemiological situation in Czechia. He stated this as the opposition Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) urged him to immediately ask the neighboring states for help due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. According to KDU-ČSL, the situation in many regions is already critical, and the government should urgently address it.
Christian Democrats also appealed to the Minister of Health, Jan Blatný. However, Blatný stated on Saturday on social networks that there are sufficient capacities in Czech hospitals. According to him, it is not a problem to transport patients to less busy hospitals in other regions. “This is an example of an absolute unawareness of how the system works in the Czech Republic,” commented Babiš on the request. He said that there is a basic in-patient care dispatch center, which reports on the free capacity of, for example, equipment or intensive care unit beds in the country. “Many places lack medical, and support staff and medics are already completely exhausted. Besides, in many regions, the number of free hospital beds starts to decline, or the hospitals will soon reach the edge of capacity,” said Marian Jurečka, chairman of KDU-ČSL. “The prime minister should immediately ask the surrounding countries for help in admitting patients from the Czech Republic or for the eventual dispatching of health professionals who would help us cope with the current situation,” added KDU-ČSL Deputy Chairman and MEP Tomáš Zdechovský.
In recent days, the situation has deteriorated, for example, in the Karlovy Vary region at the German border, especially in the hospital in the town of Cheb. Petr Třešňák, a member of the Pirate Party in this region, wrote on Twitter that the current situation in the Cheb hospital is unsustainable and that staff are forced to sort patients they place in intensive care. He called on Minister Blatný to ask the German federal states of Bavaria and Saxony for help. Blatný also replied on social networks that he was in contact with the governor of the Karlovy Vary Region and, just on Friday, the ministry helped the region with the transport of several patients. “By Friday, Cheb asked for help with six patients. We helped. So the system works, and these accusations without the complete knowledge of the situation are just an attempt to gain publicity,” the prime minister said.
Babiš also pointed out that compared to the severe second wave, Czechia currently has significantly fewer people with COVID-19 in hospitals and, therefore, there is no reason to ask anyone for help. He admitted that some hospitals are on the edge of capacity, but, at the same time, pointed out that the state still has a backup field hospital in Letňany, Prague. Title image: Czech PM Andrej Babiš on a video call with region governors discusses the epidemiological situation (Andrej Babiš / Facebook)