Hungary has offered neighboring Romania help in caring for coronavirus patients as the country faces an alarming surge of COVID-19 cases and a shortage of intensive care beds, pushing its health care system to the brink of collapse, according to AP News.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto sent a letter over the weekend offering assistance to Romania in treating COVID-19 patients, Hungary’s Foreign Ministry told The Associated Press.
“Negotiations are underway between the Romanian and Hungarian sides on the concrete form of the assistance,” said the ministry.
Romania, a European Union nation of 19 million, is the second least vaccinated country in the EU with 34% of adults fully vaccinated, compared to 74% across the bloc.
On Thursday, Romanian vaccination committee chief Valeriu Gheorghita likened the bleak situation unfolding in Romania to Italy, which was one of the worst-hit countries at the start of the pandemic.
Romania was reporting about 1,000 COVID-19 infections a day around a month ago, but daily cases this week have skyrocketed to record highs of more than 15,000. For the first time since the pandemic started, Romania registered more than 300 deaths in a single day on Wednesday.
There are around 1,500 COVID-19 patients receiving care in Romania’s intensive care units, a situation stretching the country’s ailing health care system to capacity.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis this week called the developments a “catastrophe.”
The scenario prompted Romanian authorities this week to suspend non-emergency medical treatments for 30 days as they try to relieve pressure on hospitals.
Hungary recorded 837 new COVID-19 infection cases on Thursday, compared with 14,467 in Romania.