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Athens Hospitals Fill, COVID-19 Patients Face Move Elsewhere

ATHENS – Still not moving to commandeer private hospitals en masse, Greece’s New Democracy said it could instead take additional COVID-19 patients to filling public hospitals in the capital area to other cities.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said new patients with COVID-19 cases that have exploded during a failed third lockdown may have to be transported to hospitals outside of the Attica prefecture which have reached capacity.

He told SKAI radio the ministry will issue “in a few hours or a day” a call on private doctors to help in state-run hospitals overwhelmed with patients after an earlier request for them to join the battle was rejected.

“We have long since exceeded the capabilities of the system,” he said, expecting several weeks of anxiety over how to deal with the growing health crisis after only two private clinics in Athens offered to help.

Kikilias said the ministry plans to increase capacity in intensive care units by 1,393 beds, starting with 10 opening in Tzanio Hospital and five in Ippokrateio as public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) filled with critical patients on ventilators.

While some private facilities earlier had been used, private hospitals still are essentially reserved for people who can afford them although the government said it would pay for the cost of caring for COVID-19 patients and is moving beds around public hospitals to deal with the crisis.

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