Hungary offers to treat Romanian patients with COVID-19 – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

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BUCHAREST, Romania – (AP) – Hungary has offered help to neighboring Romania to treat coronavirus patients as the country faces an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases and a shortage of beds for intensive care – pushing its health care system to the brink of collapse.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto sent a letter this weekend offering assistance to Romania in treating COVID-19 patients, Hungary’s Foreign Ministry told The Associated Press.

“Negotiations are underway between the Romanian and Hungarian parties on the concrete form of the aid,” the ministry said.

Romania, a European Union country of 19 million people, is the second least vaccinated country in the EU – with 34% of adults fully vaccinated, compared to 74% in the bloc as a whole.

The head of the Romanian vaccination committee, Valeriu Gheorghita, on Thursday compared the grim situation unfolding in Romania to Italy – which was one of the worst affected countries at the start of the pandemic.

“It is very evident that hospitals and emergency departments are under attack, overwhelmed by patients with COVID,” Gheorghita said at a press conference, adding that the surge in hospitalizations leaves out other needs. health care.

Romania was reporting around 1,000 COVID-19 infections a day about a month ago, but daily cases this week have skyrocketed to record highs of over 15,000. For the first time since the start of the pandemic , Romania recorded more than 300 deaths in a single day on Wednesday.

Around 1,500 COVID-19 patients are receiving care in intensive care units in Romania – a situation that is straining the country’s ailing healthcare system.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis this week called these developments a “disaster”.

The scenario prompted Romanian authorities this week to suspend elective medical treatment for 30 days as they try to ease pressure on hospitals. They also asked for EU help through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The move came days after a fire at a hospital in the port city of Constanta ravaged an intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients, killing seven people. Friday’s fire was the third to strike a Romanian COVID-19 service since the start of the pandemic, revealing serious illnesses in the country’s health infrastructure.

Szijjarto wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday that “if there is a need to treat patients, the Hungarian health system has the capacity to do so, so (Romania) can count on us”.

Romania’s health ministry did not respond to an email from the PA on Thursday asking for details on the aid offered by Hungary.

Hungary – a nation of 10 million people with 66% of all adults fully vaccinated – has itself seen a recent surge in COVID-19 pandemic indicators, reaching a number of hospitalizations not seen since the start of summer.

Hungary recorded 837 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Thursday, compared to 14,467 in Romania.

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Justin Spike reported from Budapest, Hungary.

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