„I would like to share with you how a person from abroad and living in Prague is experiencing this COVID-19 crisis. It can just be summarized in few words: respect for the Czech people and the government. I know that there are reasons to complain about this government, but this time it has taken some radical measurements that I believe will help the country to get out of this complicated situation. And I also admire the discipline and responsibility of Czech people to adapt without much complaints, and how well they follow the new regulations. For example, everybody wears a mask. Even who has no access to a medical mask has made his/her own! There are lots of people sewing masks at home and donating them to hospitals or collectives in need. Did you notice that grandma’s have the coolest masks in town? Even children wear masks! And I went out for a little walk today, crossed a couple of persons, and they kept 2m distance from me… I wish people in Spain and Italy would do the same!!!
I am closely following the development of the coronavirus crisis in Spain, since I originally come from Barcelona and part of my family is still there. I unfortunately fail to understand the relaxed restrictions of the Spanish government and I am astonished to hear them saying they applied the toughest measures in the world. Spain is following the same direction as Italy, or even worse. Spain’s medical system is about to collapse, and the Spanish government is not applying radical rules of confinement to prevent (or at least minimize) what is about to happen.
It is sad… it is sad to see how there are no masks even for hospital workers. My question is why is it taking so long to find a solution to this problem? Why do new masks arrive but are still stopped in Madrid and not being distributed quickly enough to the regions? 12 % of the infected cases in Spain are hospital employees. It is sad to see there are not enough tests. It is sad to see that patients that are positive for COVID-19 escape from the hospitals. It is sad to see that Spain is not even able to protect the elderly people in their retirement houses. Politicians from Spain, can you learn from other countries? Can you learn from the Czech Republic?
I have learned in the Czech Republic that at least we can try to control the spread, so that less people get infected and the sanitary system will not collapse. I am not an epidemiologist, so I am not sure we will manage, but I think that so far the Czech Republic is doing really well.
Meritxell Alberich Jordà
Laboratory of Haematooncology, IMG – Institute of Molecular Genetics CAS