Romani journalists in Czech Republic call on community to uphold measures against pandemic
Romani figures in the Czech Republic have posted a video to the online ROMEA TV channel calling on Romani people to uphold the measures against the pandemic. Journalist Jarmila Balážová, who has contracted the virus, describes her experience of COVID-19 in the video.
Journalists Patrik Banga, Tomáš Bystrý, and Richard Samko also call on Romani people to wear face masks where they are required and not to make light of the situation by disseminating disinformation on social media. The journalists are responding to a situation in which many members of the Romani community are sharing disinformation about COVID-19 online.
The well-known journalist Jarmila Balážová, who has contracted the disease, speaks about her personal experience of it in the video. "This is my 11th day with COVID-19. The first six days involved pain in my joints, muscles, head and loss of appetite - now I still have a cough and shortness of breath, and it's not pleasant. Naturally I am aware that I am not absolutely the worst-off, many people will need a hospital bed to recover from this and that is what is at stake at this moment," she told ROMEA TV.
Czech Television reporter Richard Samko has met experts attempting to solve the COVID-19 dilemma in the course of his job. "I want to call on you all to take care of yourselves. We live together with our grandparents, who are a group in great danger now. Let's be careful and considerate of them. I would like to call on you all to wear face masks where it is necessary and needed and to disinfect your hands. Be really careful, do not make light of this situation," he says in the video.
Tomáš Bystrý, an editor at Czech Radio, is also calling for the measures to be upheld. "I am not trying to scare anybody, I am just recalling the facts the way we journalists are meant to do. Please, let's not make light of this situation. It is actually very serious. This is not fake news. Yes, those of us who are 20, 30, 40 years old and who do not have any other health problems will recover from an infection within a few days or a week. Possibly, we may not experience any larger problems as a consequence. Our civilization is not going to die of coronavirus. Do we want to endanger our loved ones, though, the elderly, the obese, those who are already sick? Do we want this infection to keep spreading and the hospitals to be full? That could be catastrophic for us all," the journalist says in the video.
Patrik Banga, also a well-known journalist, draws attention to the deceptive stories spreading through the Internet. "Recently I have been reading on the Internet many hoaxes and sometimes absolute nonsense about COVID-19 having been caused by the World Health Organization or Bill Gates. I have also read rumors that the testing involves making a hole in the brain to implant a chip to control your thoughts. I have been tested, there is no hole in my brain, and I am in control of my own thinking. The reality is that COVID-19 is here with us, and not everybody is fortunate enough to be healthy or young," Banga says in the video.
According to Czech Health Minister Roman Prymula (for ANO), COVID-19 infections are anticipated to increase for another 10 days to two weeks. Experts say 3-4 % of those infected will be hospitalized, 20 % of whom will be in a critical state.
The time it takes for serious symptoms requiring hospitalization to develop tends to be between a week and 10 days after diagnosis, on average. Speaking on Friday, the coordinator of the country's intensive care system, Vladimír Černý, said the next few weeks will be exceptionally hard for the Czech health care system, above all very demanding for the health care workers involved, but that the system is not in danger of collapse.
Accoridng to Prymula, hospital capacities have been doubled. Since last Wednesday, because of the unfavorable development of the COVID-19 pandemic, stricter measures against it have been in effect throughout the entire Czech Republic.
All schools, from primary schools to universities, have moved into distance instruction with the exception of classes for children with special needs. Bars, clubs and restaurants are closed and cultural and sports events are prohibited.
As of 14 October it is not possible for more than six people to congregate in one place, either inside or outside, organized or not, except for precisely specified exceptions. Speaking on Friday, Prymula said there would be no new measures introduced in the immediate future.
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