Czech army builds field hospital to combat virus surge 16 October 2020 - 19:39

The Czech government tasked the army Friday with building a large field hospital to relieve civilian hospitals as the country combats the fastest growth in coronavirus infections in the European Union.The country of 10.7 million people is faring worst in the 28-member bloc in terms of holding back the disease, according to the latest ranking by European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention's (ECDC).Data updated on Friday showed the Czechs had by far the most new cases and deaths per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks in the EU.Recent daily infection rates have reached almost 10,000 cases, putting more strain on healthcare providers."The hospital will have 500 beds, 10 ventilated and 490 ordinary ones," Health Minister Roman Prymula told reporters.He said the construction of the hospital in halls serving as exhibition grounds on Prague's northern outskirts would start on Sunday.The army said earlier it would need about 10 days to build it.The Czech Republic has registered almost 155,000 cases and more than 1,270 deaths overall, with 3,120 people in hospital.Prymula said he expected new cases to keep growing for the next two weeks but added that the new field hospital may not start working immediately."It is a reserve hospital in case there is a big leap," he said, adding that the hospital staff would be recruited both in the army and among civilian medical workers.To combat the virus spread, the Czech government has ordered face masks indoors, reduced gatherings to six people and closed schools, restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres, museums and swimming pools across the country.

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