Czech military to set up out-of-hospital beds for COVID-19 patients

About 500 beds will be set up in Prague's Letňany exhibition grounds this weekend, with additional locations planned

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 15.10.2020 08:00 (updated on 15.10.2020)

Prague, Oct 15 (CTK) - The Czech state will start increasing the number of beds located out of hospitals to serve COVID-19 patients this weekend, and plans to buy thousands of beds from the Linet firm, PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) told reporters before his departure for Brussels.

Linet director Tomas Kolar said the firm must first manufacture the beds, mostly in Želevčice near Kladno, central Bohemia, but it might also use production capacities in Germany.

The firm can supply 4,000 beds to the state during November, Kolar told CTK. The Linet production will focus mostly on the types of beds that are currently needed, he added.

Babiš also said he had contacted spa facilities in this respect, and talked to Bavarian representatives over the expected rise of COVID-19 patients. However, he would like the Czech Republic to cope with the situation itself, he added.

"We must build alternative capacities very fast, this is an absolute task," Babis said.

The Czech military and the Central Crisis Staff (UKS) should start preparing the beds this weekend, with hospital directors are in charge of the personnel. "They have instructions on what to do," Babiš said.

The military will start building bed capacities in the complex of the Letňany exhibition grounds on the outskirts of Prague on Saturday, providing up to 500 beds, Deputy PM, Interior Minister and UKS head Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

The UKS is cooperating with Czech regions in the selection of suitable localities.

"We have no time, the prognosis is not good, the figures are catastrophic. This is a very urgent matter," Babiš said.

As far as the purchases of new beds are concerned, beds are available in the state material reserves, but they might not suffice, he added.

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On the other hand, the Czech Republic has sufficient reserves of protective devices and if some hospitals are short of them, they should turn to the UKS, Babiš said.

The Czech Republic has received promises of aid from neighboring states if the number of its COVID-19 patients surge, but the country will try to manage it on its own, Babiš said.

"The infection is on the rise elsewhere. We do not rely on this and are doing our utmost to manage the situation at home," he stressed.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases hit a new record high in the Czech Republic on Wednesday when 9,544 new cases were confirmed, 927 more than the previous high from last Friday. More than 77,000 are currently infected and 2,678 patients with COVID-19 are hospitalized, 518 of whom are in serious condition.