Hungary has offered neighboring Romania help in caring for coronavirus patients as the country faces a huge surge in COVID-19 cases and a shortage of intensive-care beds that is pushing its health-care system to the brink of collapse.
Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto sent a letter over the weekend offering assistance to Romania in treating COVID-19 patients, Hungary’s Foreign Ministry said.
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“Negotiations are under way between the Romanian and Hungarian sides on the concrete form of the assistance,” the ministry said on October 7.
Romania, a country of 19 million, has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the EU, with only 34 percent of adults fully vaccinated, compared to the EU's 74 percent average.
Romanian vaccination chief Valeriu Gheorghita on October 7 likened the current virus crisis in Romania to that of Italy at the start of the pandemic.
“It is very obvious that hospitals and emergency units are assaulted, overwhelmed by patients with COVID,” Gheorghita said at a news conference, adding that the surge in hospitalizations leaves aside other health-care needs.
Daily cases have exploded over the past week, reaching record daily highs of more than 15,000 infections and hitting more than 300 deaths for the first time on October 6.
Some 1,500 COVID-19 patients are currently in intensive-care units, stretching the country’s ailing health-care system to capacity.
Romania also asked the EU for help through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. President Klaus Iohannis this week called the developments a “catastrophe.”
Hungary -- a nation of 10 million people with 66 percent of all adults fully vaccinated -- recorded 837 new COVID-19 infection cases on October 7, compared with 14,467 in Romania.