[WATCH] Coronavirus: 680 new beds inside and outside hospital to cater for Covid-19 patients

Mater Dei Hospital and facilities outside the hospital, including the Gozo General Hospital, will have 680 beds available for Covid-19 patients •  Number of beds in intensive therapy unit up to 49 with a possibility to go up to 100

Mater Dei Hospital (File photo)
Mater Dei Hospital (File photo)

The health authorities have increased the number of beds at Mater Dei Hospital and in other facilities to be able to treat coronavirus patients, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Sunday.

The country will have up to 680 new beds, including 80 in Gozo, to treat Covid-19 patients over the coming weeks as the health authorities scale up their preparedeness for an expected outbreak in local transmissions.

The number of beds in the Intensive Therapy Unit will increase to 49 beds with immediate effect and could increase to 100 if and when necessary. The government is expecting a number of new ventilators.

Fearne said that starting from Monday, certain hospital appointments and non-essential operations will be postponed to reduce the number of people in hospital, liberate space for emergency situations and free up human resources.

Fearne said the hospital and its staff was prepared for an eventual outbreak of local cases.

He also urged people to avoid congregating in bars and night clubs.

Fearne said any decision on a lock down will be taken at the appropriate time based on scientific evidence. "Taking decisions too late, or too early can be problematic so we are assessing the situation by the hour... our philosophy is to drag out the spread over a period of time to ensure that the health system is not overwhelmed," Fearne said.

Key points:

  • 680 new beds to treat Covid-19 patients will be available
  • 100 beds in ITU will be available
  • Mater Dei Hospital sets up new emergency to deal specifically with Covid-19 cases
  • Boffa Hospital has been cleared and could be used as well
  • Non-essential out-patient appointments have been postponed
  • Non-urgent surgical operations will be postponed. Emergency operations and all those related to cancer will continue as usual
  • Childcare facility will be offered for all medical staff with children under 12