Coronavirus pandemic expected to peak in April: Raed Arafat

The coronavirus pandemic is placing heavy pressure on the Romanian healthcare system, which will likely be crushed if there is a spike in confirmed infections. The spread of the novel virus has highlighted deficiencies in the healthcare system, as all cases must be addressed within a very limited amount of time, especially as the pandemic is expected to peak soon. State Secretary for the Interior Raed Arafat has outlined a few measures the government will be taking in the near future.

Romanian hospitals are now better equipped than they were at the beginning of the pandemic, so

success now depends on our behavior and the curve of the outbreak,

Arafat said in an interview with Digi24. The number of infected patients requiring medical treatment has been growing slowly in the country, but if there is a spike in infections – as there was in Italy – hospitals will be overloaded and problems will arise, he said. According to the latest available information released by the government, Romania currently has more than 4,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 182 deaths from the disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to peak in mid-April, according to Arafat.

President Klaus Iohannis announced that the state of emergency has been extended for another month. “It is clear we are not yet at the peak of the epidemic, and this is no time to relax. We have reached the conclusion that we need to extend the state of emergency by one more month, and a decree will be issued next week,” Iohannis said in a televised statement broadcast by Digi24.

The government plans to install field hospitals, such as the one assembled by the MoND (Ministry of National Defence) at Ana Aslan National Institute for Gerontology near Bucharest, in case the number of confirmed infections spikes. Also, there will be space reserved for patients with slight or no symptoms. In Bucharest, a supermarket chain has already offered to provide space for this, and the process of assembling more than 350 beds is now ongoing.

Another measure has been to take into account all failed ventilator units (or those with functional issues), as hospitalized patients are likely to require mechanical ventilation. They have identified 190 units, 100 of which were collected by firefighters and transported to repair shops. Qualified medical staff will also be redistributed among hospitals in order to increase the efficiency of medical treatment. “We take one step forward every day,” Arafat said.

Feature image: Raed Arafat. Image source: Arafat’s official Facebook page

Author: István Fekete