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Full bus in Sweden on March 26, 2020. Billions of people are in quarantine and governments call on their populations to observe social distance, but the Swedish authorities do the opposite. Photo: Screen shot from Youtube

Nine major European hospitals now require assistance

"We will soon be short of important drugs" in the fight against the new Coronavirus, Europe's largest hospital warned in a letter to its respective governments.

Published: April 1, 2020, 10:09 am

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    The warning comes from some of the largest hospitals in Europe, members of the European University Hospital Alliance. In a letter to their respective governments, doctors are calling for urgent action to remedy the shortage of medicines.

    “Hospitals will soon have a shortage of important drugs to treat patients with Covid-19 who are in hospitals in emergency rooms. Without European co-operation to ensure continuous drug supply, they may not be able to provide adequate intensive care within one to two weeks,” the signatories, doctors and directors of the institutions that are members of the European University Hospital Alliance noted.

    All establishments are at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already claimed more than 23 000 lives in Europe. Among them: l’Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), San Raffaele in Milan, Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, ​​King’s College in London, Charité in Berlin and Karolinska in Stockholm. In France, the letter is said to have been sent on the morning of Tuesday, March 31, to the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.

    “At this rate of consumption, the stores at the most affected hospitals will be empty in a couple of days and in two weeks for those with larger stocks. […] This has already led some hospitals to buy drugs or doses that differ from those they are used to. It is very disturbing to see overworked and often less experienced nurses and medical students… using products and doses they are not familiar with.”

    One of the risks concerns the patients who have to be intubated, an operation that takes place during anesthesia or even in artificial coma. The use of medicines that are unfamiliar to the staff means increased risks of a mistake being made.

    While Denmark, Finland, and Norway have all introduced lockdown by closing schools, workplaces and borders weeks ago, Sweden’s government has resisted imposing restrictions.

    As a result, Norway has around a quarter of the deaths (34) than the figure recorded in Sweden (146). On March 31, Denmark recorded 77 Coronavirus fatalities and Finland just 13. Sweden’s death count has risen sharply in recent days with more than 4 000 confirmed cases.

    Even though the public has been told to observe social distancing and to work from home if possible, Swedish busses are still overcrowded. Bars, pubs and restaurants continue to remain open day and night. According to a new poll more than a half of Swedes believe they should continue their daily lives as usual, the British tabloid The Sun reported.

    Meanwhile, a Swedish parliamentary member has been infected by the new Coronavirus. The information was obtained by sources within the Riksdag and published by Swedish weekly Nya Tider. The member does not want to be named however.

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