Update: The six patients will be treated in France, as sufficient capacity was found there due to the easing of the crisis. French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe thanked the Czech Republic for its offer of help.
The Czech Republic is lending a helping hand to France by hospitalizing six patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The patients, who are connected to ventilators, will travel from France to the University Hospital Brno (FNBrno). Patients are connected to pulmonary ventilation.
“France turned to us for help in hospitalizing its patients. Due to sufficient capacity we complied with them. Six [patients] should be transported to FNBrno. After Italy, Spain and Slovenia, it is another European country that we will be happy to help,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said on Twitter.
Francie se na nás obrátila s žádostí o pomoc s hospitalizací svých pacientů. Vzhledem k dostatečné kapacitě jsme jim vyhověli. 6 z nich by mělo být transportováno do @FNBrno. Po Itálii, Španělsku a Slovinsku je to další evropská země, které rádi pomůžeme.
— Andrej Babiš (@AndrejBabis) April 5, 2020
He later said that the Czech Republic offered 12 spaces. “We have sufficient capacity. If colleagues in France have a big problem, why not accommodate them?” he said.
The six patients should arrive in the Czech Republic on the afternoon of April 6. “We are glad to be able to help France in this way,” FNBrno spokesman Pavel Zára told news server iDnes.cz.
The French Embassy in Prague was grateful for the help. “Thank you to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and to theCzech government and the hospital and Brno airport for accepting six patients from France.# European solidarity,” the embassy said on Twitter.
— La France à Prague (@France_CZ) April 5, 2020
Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said he discussed this step with Babiš. “Our capacities are good, so it is advisable to help within the framework of solidarity between the EU countries,” Vojtěch said.
Relative to other countries, the level of infection in the Czech Republic is low since the country acted quickly to contain the virus with quarantine and social distancing measures, in addition to travel restrictions. As of the morning of April 6, some 4,951 people have tested positive for cononavirus out of 85,014 who have been tested. The population of the Czech Republic is over 10.6 million. In total, 72 people have died from complications due to COVID-19 and 96 have recovered.
“I cannot exclude similar assistance to other countries in the future, but nothing is currently agreed on. It will of course also depend on the evolution of the situation and on the availability of our capacities. We decided to use the University Hospital Brno simply because it is able to offer its capacities,” Vojtěch said.
The Czech Republic on March 29 sent protective suits to Spain and Italy. The suits came from from police depots near Pardubice. Each country received 10,000 suits.
The Czech Republic also sent to Italy samples of 3D printed masks designed and manufactured by the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) as well as 90 masks made by the Czech company Nanologix.
Since March 1, France has seen the deaths of 7,560 people in hospitals and nursing homes due to COVID-19, and 6,838 patients are being treated in intensive care units, according to French authorities.
Italy reports more than 15,000 COVID-19 deaths, while Spain has over 12,000 deaths.