Coronavirus in Romania: Health minister says all of Bucharest’s population will be tested, door to door
All of Bucharest’s residents will be tested for the new Covid-19 virus, Romania’s health minister Victor Costache said in an interview with Stirileprotv.ro.
The minister also said that patients diagnosed with the new coronavirus will be treated in dedicated hospitals, about 30 throughout Romania. Those with mild forms of the disease will be moved to hotels, where they will be supervised by doctors.
“We have endorsed a partnership and a program that will start quickly. We want to test the whole population of Bucharest through a series of teams that will go door to door, following the South Korean model. It is very important to do millions of tests. By the end of the week, we will have another 200,000 tests. We started with a single test center in January and now we have at least 20 and we want to have 1-2 in each county,” said health minister Victor Costache for Stirile PRO TV.
Patients diagnosed with the new virus are currently being sent for treatment to seven infectious disease centers: two in the capital and five in the rest of the country. To prevent the infection from reaching those with other diseases that have remained hospitalized, the health minister says that the patients will not be mixed.
“We do not treat Covid-19 in non-Covid hospitals, it is the basic pillar of our strategy for the fight against the virus,” Costache said “A hospital in each county will become Covid-19 hospital or two counties will be grouped to identify a larger dedicated hospital. For Bucharest, the Colentina hospital has been prepared, which will become operational tomorrow.”
At the same time, patients with mild forms will not be treated at home, as has happened in other countries. “Tomorrow we start a pilot project to take the pressure off the hospitals of infectious diseases. Tomorrow, 50 patients will be installed in hotels with individual rooms, supervised. The basic principle is not to mix the patients and not send them home, it is the biggest mistake that has been made in the European countries,” said the minister.
It's unclear, however, how the Romanian authorities will be able to implement these measures. For example, for testing all of Bucharest’s residents, between two and four million tests should be carried out. Romania has recently ordered 2 million Real-Time PCR tests for Covid-19 from South-Korea, 200,000 of which will reach the country by the end of this week. However, the testing capacity is much lower as only about 2,000 such tests can be processed in Romania each day, according to prime minister Ludovic Orban.
When it comes to separating Covid-19 and non-Covid patients, the authorities have had a bad start as there are already several hospitals in Romania where doctors and nurses have been infected with the virus or are under isolation after coming in contact with infected patients. The most dramatic example is that of the county hospital in Suceava, which was closed for disinfection on Wednesday morning after dozens of doctors and nurses have been infected with Covid-19. Half of the 14 patients who have lost their lives in Romania due to Covid-19 had been treated at this hospital.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / George Calin)