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Russia's health system under strain as the coronavirus surges back

When Yekaterina Kobzeva, a nurse at a preschool in Russia's Ural Mountains, began having trouble breathing, she called an ambulance. It was four days before she managed to find a free hospital bed.

Topics
Russia | Coronavirus | Health Ministry

AP  |  Moscow 

Covid-19 coronavirus

When Yekaterina Kobzeva, a nurse at a preschool in Russia's Ural Mountains, began having trouble breathing, she called an ambulance. It was four days before she managed to find a free hospital bed.

The ambulance first took her to get a scan which showed damage from pneumonia to 50% of her lungs, an indication she had The paramedics then drove her around the city of Perm and its surroundings for hours as seven hospitals, one by one, turned her down, saying they didn't have any beds available. At dawn, she went home.

The journey took her through circles of hell, Kobzeva, 60, recalled in an interview with The Associated Press by phone from a hospital, where doctors confirmed she had the virus. She was only admitted there days after her first attempt and after her story made local headlines.

Russia's health care system, vast yet underfunded, has been under significant strains in recent weeks, as the pandemic surges again and daily infections and virus death regularly break records.

Across the country, 81% of hospital beds that have been set aside for patients were full as of Wednesday.

Three times last week, the Russian government reported a record number of daily deaths, and the number of daily new infections per 100,000 people has more than doubled since Oct. 1, from 6 to over 15.

Overall, has recorded over 2 million cases and over 35,000 deaths, but experts say all numbers worldwide understate the true toll of the pandemic.

Reports in Russian media have painted a bleak picture in recent weeks. Hospital corridors are filled with patients on gurneys and even the floor. Bodies in black plastic bags were seen piling up on the floors of a morgue. Long lines of ambulances wait at hospitals while pharmacies put up signs listing the drugs they no longer have in stock.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sun, November 22 2020. 15:20 IST
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