The Principality Readies for the Peak of the Coronavirus Pandemic
According to reports Princess Grace Hospital is in an advanced state of readiness for the anticipated peak of the Covid-19 crisis this month. Reported are that:
– only about 50% of the 25 available beds for recovery or resuscitation are in use, leaving plenty spare;
– a contingency wing with extra beds is already in the plan; in addition it is possible to expand facilities further using the extra capacity in the Cardiac-Thoracic and Sports Medicine Centres;
– the morale of health professionals is high with the arrival of protective gear including 100.000 masks;
– patients range the whole spectrum from over 20 to over 85 years old. The young are not spared from infection and are urged to respect the quarantine rules for their own protection;
– the Home Patient Monitoring Centre plays its role in caring for the infected and taking pressure off the hospital facilities. Currently it only monitors those at home in Monaco whereas the hospital itself provides care to the close-by surrounding communities;
– the much discussed malaria drug Chloroquine is in clinical trials for its efficacy against Covid-19. It can be made available in limited cases subject to hospital prescription and guidance
– the resources of Princess Grace Hospital are obviously targeted more and more to countering the Coronavirus pandemic – which means many health services, other than emergency operations and necessary procedures like cancer treatments, are in a queue awaiting the end of the pandemic.
The New Monitoring Committee
The new Monitoring Committee accorded by the Prince with Serge Telle in the Chair has got underway with joint representation from the Government and Conseil National, whose President is Stéphane Valeri. This is the perfect forum into which the Conseil National is able to forward its ideas which are reported to include provision of :
Masks for ALL the population in addition to those providing vital services in the front line like health care workers and police;
Covid-19 Tests for ALL the population; two tests (which could in certain cases be self-administered) for each person including anyone from outside working in Monaco. The first fingerprick test detects anyone infected with the virus and the second test is necessary to ensure any negative (good) results are correct. This requires a purchase of a minimum of 100.000 test kits but more probably 200.000 test kits.
Treatment by Chloroquine in limited appropriate cases but only under recommendation and hospital guidance and under hospital supervision and by hospital prescription
The Conseil National also called for:
tight control of the borders so that access to Monaco supermarkets and pharmacies be limited to residents and the close neighbouring communities on the borders;
urgent injection of funds into the economy; noting funds of 50 million euros have already been set aside to help companies and their employees weather the crisis;
prohibition to fire any workers during the crisis given there are support measures for temporary unemployment to mitigate the plight of employers;
private landlords to be flexible with struggling commercial tenants by lowering rents and accepting a portion of the payment; and for those commercial tenants with incomes reduced to zero the State to help with rents;
continuing monthly bonuses of 1000 euros for those on the front line of public service including health workers;
special adjustment to the annual Budget bearing in mind loss of revenues and increasing special expenses to deal with the crisis will create a gap of hundreds of millions of euros. This will call for tapping the Special Reserve set up by the Constitution.