Minister: intensive care patients may have to be moved abroad in extreme cases

In extreme cases intensive care patients may have to be moved abroad, said Latvian Minister of Health Daniels Pavļuts in an interview to TV3 programme Nekā personīga.
The minister did not mention the threshold at which will be necessary to start making plans for patients. Pavļuts said previously the threshold for the critical situation was about 1 500 hospitalized patients. Now, however, Covid-19 patients are treated everywhere where it is possible, the minister says, adding that the current
number of Covid-19 patients in intensive therapy is double of the number observed last winter.
The politician explained that the Ministry of Health works on scenarios if the number of Covid-19 patients exceeds 3 000. It may be necessary to ask for international aid in this situation. Whether or not the number of hospitalized Covid-19 reaches 3 000 depends on how well or how poorly residents follow curfew, the minister said.
Talks with foreign colleagues are already underway, and there are multiple areas in which Latvia may require foreign aid, said Pavļuts, adding that the first assistance offers were received after the initial aid requests were announced.
«We have warned [foreign partners] that we may need teams of medical workers and that in extreme cases we may have to move intensive care patients,» said Pavļuts, hoping nonetheless that Latvia’s healthcare sector will be able to deal with this.
Pavļuts admits in summer no one expected the situation to deteriorate to such dramatic anti-records observed in Latvia now. «No healthcare system prepares for a theoretically dramatic scenario if it does not consider it justified,» the minister said.
Sweden has announced plans to send Latvia 120 artificial lung ventilation machines, 30 pumps and more than 300 monitors as aid,
as Swedish PM Stefan Löfven confirmed to his Latvian colleague Krišjānis Kariņš at a summit in Brussels.
According to the prime minister’s office, using EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Latvian services sent an aid requests to EU member states to help improve the capacity of Latvian healthcare sector due to the increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients.