BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania is in talks about potentially transferring some COVID-19 patients to Hungary as Bucharest struggles with record high infections and a shortage of intensive care beds, deputy interior minister Raed Arafat said on Friday.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto offered his country’s help in a letter over the weekend.
“We are in talks with Hungary,” Arafat told reporters. “We are waiting to see what mechanism they agree on … and we will collaborate to see how we can transport patients.”
A total of 357 COVID-19 patients died in Romania in the last 24 hours, a record high. The number of new coronavirus infections fell slightly to 13,854 after touching a record high of over 15,000 earlier this week.
Romania will also receive 250 oxygen concentrators from Poland and the Netherlands through the bloc’s civil protection mechanism, Brussels said.
Romania has just one single intensive care bed available, and authorities have suspended non-emergency surgery in state hospitals for a month, and redeployed staff in an effort to cope.
The pandemic has killed 38,927 people so far as the country grappled with the EU’s second-lowest vaccination rate.
Romania has vaccinated only a little over a third of its adult population because of distrust in state institutions and misinformation campaigns, though the number of daily vaccines has started to rise slowly.
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by John Stonestreet)