Prague, 5 March 2021 (dpa/MIA) — After a long period of hesitation, the Czech Republic is now accepting offers of help from abroad as the coronavirus situation worsens in the central European nation.
Germany, Poland, and Switzerland have been asked to take on and treat at least a dozen Covid-19 patients, the Health Ministry in Prague announced on Friday afternoon.
The reason for the requests is that hospitals are overloaded, so the usual standards of treatment could no longer be guaranteed, the ministry said.
Specific patients have not yet been selected. The decision is up to the respective doctor.
“We are in a situation we never wanted to be in,” Health Minister Jan Blatny said. Only a few hours earlier, he had said that he did not consider foreign aid necessary, but the pressure on hospitals is growing steadily, according to the authorities.
The Czech Republic currently has the highest rate of new infections in the European Union. More than 800 people per 100,000 inhabitants were infected with the coronavirus within the past seven days.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been almost 1.3 million infections and 21,325 coronavirus-related deaths in the country.
The more transmissible British coronavirus variant is gradually spreading across the country and becoming the dominant form of the virus.
Earlier, a quarantine bonus payment was introduced as part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
President Milos Zeman signed a law on Friday stipulating that employees receive the equivalent of up to 14 euros a day (16.7 dollars) if they are in a quarantine officially ordered by authorities.
The payment will be paid in addition to the continued payment of wages in the event of illness, amounting to 60 percent of earnings.
According to the government, many infected people have not disclosed the names of people they were in contact with out of concern that they would cause financial disadvantages to friends and relatives.