The czech army’s field hospital has already been deployed in conflict zones such as iraq and afghanistan. It provided humanitarian aid in turkey and albania.
Now the soldiers only have to travel about 100 kilometers to reach their deployment site in the exhibition halls in the prague district of letnany. Czech republic is in corona crisis mode. "The fight against the pandemic is now the number one task not only for the army," says defense minister lubomir metnar.
Concerns are growing that hospitals will soon be overburdened with covid-19 patients. The field hospital – a small container city with an operating theater, intensive care unit, its own laboratory and ront equipment – is to serve as a reserve. On monday the first military convoy from the sanitary base in hradec kralove (koniggratz) arrived in the capital. A total of 339 tons of equipment and medical material will be transported to the area. The hospital should be ready for use as early as sunday.
Hardly a day goes by without record figures being reported. It was not until friday that 11.105 fall below the 10 percent threshold for the first time.000 new corona infections exceeded within 24 hours. In terms of population, the czech republic has long been one of the EU’s sad leaders in terms of infection rates. According to the latest figures from the EU’s ECDC agency, 858.6 people in the czech republic were infected per 100 in 14 days.000 inhabitants infected with the virus – the highest figure in the EU.
What worries experts most is that almost one in three tests in the country of just under 10.7 million people is now positive. In august, at an international conference, prime minister andrej babis said that the czech republic was the "best in covid". The model country that was the first in europe to introduce compulsory masks in march has now become a problem child. "The numbers are catastrophic," admits babis. Resentment grows over the government’s management of the crisis.
What went wrong, many are now asking. "The mistake probably happened in the summer, when mabs were quickly relaxed," says epidemiologist petr smejkal of the prague research hospital IKEM. People had forgotten that the virus is still among us. The government and various experts had also sent out contradictory messages. At least communication has improved in the meantime.
Many czechs behave like schwejk, the soldier in jaroslav hasek’s picaresque novel, who always manages to muddle through somehow? "Yes, it has something to do with it," says smejkal. As far as the acceptance of the rules is concerned, the attitude of the people has changed since the spring. Trust between the government and the people is nowhere near as developed as in germany or sweden. Riots broke out in prague on sunday as hundreds of football and ice hockey fans protested against the restrictions on sport. 25 police officers were injured, according to official reports.
Meanwhile, schools and restaurants are closed, sports and cultural events suspended, meetings of more than six people prohibited. But the corona numbers keep going up and up. The ongoing shortage of health care workers is becoming an ever more serious problem. "It takes time to train a nurse for the intensive care unit," says smejkal. Hundreds of doctors, medical graduates and nurses have been leaving the country for years in search of higher salaries and better working conditions.
The medical association has appealed to emigrants to return temporarily to help their compatriots. Biologist jaroslav flegr has even suggested using veterinarians if necessary. The seriousness of the situation is also shown by the fact that the government has already inquired in neighboring countries such as germany whether they could accept intensive care patients in case of need.
In the meantime, even a second hard lockdown with exit restrictions is no longer completely ruled out. The decision could be made in early november. "If you think of it as everyone sitting at home and not going anywhere, it must have an effective effect," health minister roman prymula told the newspaper "pravo".
President milos zeman appealed to the people’s discipline in wearing masks in a televised speech. The head of state advised people to listen to experts and not to fall for widespread conspiracy theories. The 76-year-old said: "we have only one weapon at our disposal as long as there is no vaccination: this weapon is a small piece of cloth."On monday evening, the government decided that, from wednesday onwards, masks will be compulsory in towns and cities, even outdoors.
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