Snaking queues of dozens of medical vehicles all with patients showing symptoms of Covid-19 were seen outside every one of the city’s clinics. There were at least 45 ambulances queueing to deliver patients for treatment in one video as the Kremlin declared a state of emergency in Moscow’s hospitals. One long line was outside a hospital in Khimki suburb, close to Moscow’s main Sheremetyevo airport.
Another was seen at Hospital No.3 for war veterans in Losinoostrovskoy district. Patients were waiting hours before they could be seen by doctors.
In a video filmed by a resident from his window opposite the Khimki hospital, the man says: “All these ambulances are driving coronavirus patients.
“That’s the hospital opposite my window and this is the line of ambulances.
“Just think about it, every patient needs to be admitted.
“That takes about 20 minutes per patient.
“So many ambulances…this is the end.”
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Vladimir Putin’s spokesman conceded that the capital’s hospital’s faced an ‘extremely’ difficult situation with the pandemic.
“Moscow’s hospitals are in emergency mode,” he said, adding that St Petersburg was also hit by a rise in cases.
The spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin’s health was “excellent” despite meeting a senior doctor who had contracted coronavirus.
Deputy Moscow mayor Anastasia Rakova said: “Along with the growing numbers of people who are seriously ill, pressure has grown sharply on the capital’s health service.
“Our inpatient facilities and ambulance service are now working at their limits.”
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said worse was to come.
“I can tell you for sure, there hasn’t been any peak yet,” he said.
“We are more in the foothills of this peak, not even in the middle…”
He urged hospitals: “We have a time lag so we can prepare better for the blow that is coming our way.”
Peskov said Russia’s aim was the emulate Germany rather than other European countries.
Russia is preparing to open a brand new emergency coronavirus hospital within days, built from scratch on a greenfield site in less than one month.
The new £92 million clinic in Moscow has been built by 10,000-plus construction workers deployed round the clock.
It is the largest of some 18 new-build hospitals now being erected across Russia to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, and the only one not constructed by the army.
Almost half the beds in the new Moscow clinic will be in intensive care units.
Forty more clinics are being reconstructed to take coronavirus patients.
The city’s existing Kommunarka infectious diseases hospital is reported to be packed with “elite” patients suffering from coronavirus or its symptoms.
One patient in Kommunarka is the hospital’s head Dr Denis Protsenko who caused a health scare after meeting and shaking hands with Putin and subsequently being diagnosed to Covid-19.