Hospital Emerges As Centre Of Romania's Virus Outbreak

Hospital emerges as centre of Romania's virus outbreak

Bucharest, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th Mar, 2020 ) :A hospital in northern Romania has become the centre of the country's coronavirus outbreak, with 83 members of staff testing positive for the virus, the health ministry said Wednesday.

"I have asked for the dismissal of the (hospital) director for poor management," said health ministry official Nelu Tataru after visiting the Sfantul Ioan Emergency Hospital in the northeastern city of Suceava.

The hospital has been the scene of six of the 14 deaths Romania has so far recorded during the pandemic, with 34 of its doctors and 49 nurses testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

So many members of staff had to be put in isolation that the hospital was closed for 48 hours and had to be disinfected.

Suceava and its surrounding region, close to the Ukrainian border, have seen 190 cases of the virus, more than a fifth of the total of 906 nationwide.

Around 100 patients at the hospital have been transferred to other facilities in the region, one of Romania's poorest.

It is thought that the region's "patient zero" was one of the many members of the Romanian diaspora in Italy who have returned home in the past two weeks.

But staff have complained of lax measures in place at the hospital which may well have made the outbreak worse.

"For a whole week there were no masks, and then we were given very thin ones," one anonymous doctor working at the hospital told the Libertatea daily, adding: "I've seen better ones on people in the street".

"It is true that there have been errors, not enough protective materials," admitted Horatiu Moldovan, state secretary at the ministry of health.

However Moldovan said that hospital management "should have prioritised getting them to frontline staff".

Other reports have emerged of the hospital director -- who has himself since tested positive -- summoning all staff to a meeting on Monday.

"We stayed crammed together for an hour in a small room," another doctor told the HotNews website.

Prosecutors have said they are looking into possible wrongdoing at the hospital.

In common with many other countries, Romania has announced a national lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, enforced by the police and the army.

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