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Health Minister Pleads Private Hospitals, Doctors for COVID-19 Help

ATHENS – Not moving as vowed to commandeer private hospitals to deal with exploding cases of COVID-19 and overflowing public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) Greece’s New Democracy government is asking them to join the fight, along with private doctors who didn’t answer an earlier call.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias appealed to the private sector, urging doctors to step into the fight and held colleagues in public hospitals and the staff deal with the worsening situation.

“The health system across the country, but in Attica especially… is reaching its limits,” he said in the ministry’s daily afternoon briefing on the course of the pandemic without explaining why private doctors and hospitals weren't being forced to help.

“We must all support the system; there is no such thing as private or public in this struggle; we are all in it together,” he added.

That came after the country's Coronavirus referral hospitals admitted 3,664 patients suffering from COVID-19 in the first 10 days of March, filling at an average rate of 389 patients a day over a week, said Kathimerini.

There were 476 admissions on March 10, driving nationwide occupancy at regular COVID-19 wards to almost 50 percent and 67 percent in ICU's with no word on how many beds in private hospitals were available.

“In the past few days, we have seen the equivalent of a 200-bed hospital filling up with Covid-19 patients in a single emergency shift,” Kikilias said after the New Democracy government earlier said it would utilize private hospitals, but only two clinics stepped forward to offer aid.

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