Czech Republic to treat six French COVID-19 patients

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic will treat six COVID-19 patients from France at a university hospital in its second largest city Brno to help alleviate pressure on the French medical system, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Sunday.

“France has turned to us with a request for help in hospitalizing its patients,” Babis said on Twitter.

“Thanks to sufficient capacity we could satisfy them. Six (patients) should be transported to University Hospital Brno,” he said. He did not specify from where in France they would come.

The Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million, had 4,543 cases of the infection as of Sunday, with single-digit percentage rises in cases in the past four days and 67 deaths.

Its healthcare system has been less burdened by serious cases than those of some western European countries after harsh social distancing measures and border closures were introduced early. These have however brought the economy to a near standstill.

The country had previously shipped medical equipment to Italy, Spain and Slovenia but has also banned private exports of face masks.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Jan Harvey