Poland venue as hospital with COVID spike



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Poland Warsaw stadium as field hospital Image: sbp

To tackle the surge in COVID-19 cases, Poland’s Government is turning the National Stadium in Warsaw into a field hospital, and expects it to be operational within days, officials stated.

The PGE Narodowy or National Stadium is a retractable roof football stadium located in Warsaw, Poland. It is used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of the Poland national football team.

The Government is also initiating steps to create other temporary hospitals as Polish hospitals are filling up with infected patients and threatening to snowball into a major crisis.

“We assume that it will not be possible to stop the dynamics of the epidemic and that we will have to open more temporary hospitals,” Mariusz Kaminski, Interior Minister, said.

Michal Dworczyk, Head of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s office, said the hospital at the National Stadium will boast 500 beds in the first stage, 50 of which will be for patients requiring intensive care. Eventually, it should be able to accommodate 1,000 patients. He said it would be operational in a matter of days and will also be armed with oxygen therapy.

Patients will be accommodated in the venue’s numerous conference rooms and multiuse facilities located under its stands.

Recently, Poland’s Government announced a series of measures in Warsaw and other major cities now considered “red zones” where the wearing of masks have been made compulsory on the streets.

All high schools and faculties located in these zones are closed and are conducting remote teaching.

Restaurants must close at 21:00 local time, wedding ceremonies are banned, and the number of people allowed in shops, public transport and religious services has been limited.

“This is the first time we are doing something like this in Poland. It is a great challenge for us,” Dworczyk noted.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the conservative ruling party and Deputy Prime Minister, went into voluntary quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus positive person. He was showing no symptoms and working from home, the party spokesman said.

Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said he was also going into quarantine after coming into touch with an infected person but also maintained he was “feeling well”.

It is still not clear how the Government will manage to run the hospital at the stadium given widespread reports of shortages of doctors and other health workers across the country.

The stadium, with a seating capacity of over 58,500, was constructed to host matches for the Euro 2012 football championship, which Poland co-hosted with Ukraine.

Poland registered very low COVID-19 cases in the Spring when compared with Western European countries but is now witnessing an exponential rise in coronavirus numbers.

On October 19th, the Health Ministry recorded 7,482 new coronavirus infections over the previous day, and 41 deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, the nation of 38 million has recorded 183,248 cases and 3,614 deaths. However, the real rate of infection is likely higher.

In the past few days, 36,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out, meaning that nearly 21 percent of all tests came back positive.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski has warned that Poland could have 15,000 to 20,000 new cases daily if infection rates keep increasing at their current pace. He said his Ministry is bracing up for that scenario.

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