‘Understanding of European solidarity’: Germany offers to take foreign Covid-19 patients after previous modest help
“The willingness and the capacity are there to take additional foreign patients if necessary,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday. The treatment costs will be borne by Germany, in what he said was “our understanding of European solidarity.”
Spahn didn’t say how sizable or costly the initiative will be but said that over 200 foreigners were admitted by German intensive care units before. Local media reported that most of them came from neighboring France and Italy, where Covid-19 has killed close to 20,000 and 24,000 respectively.
Germany’s mortality rate is markedly lower, standing at above 4,600. In the meantime, the European powerhouse’s healthcare system isn’t as overburdened and undersupplied as that of some other EU nations.
Just this week, the Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) reported that over 12,600 intensive care beds remained free across the country – a “fantastic” figure, as the body described it.
This is not the first goodwill gesture by Berlin as it lent some humanitarian support to its neighbors back in March. But the number of those airlifted to German hospitals were never massive even at the height of the crisis, although such missions were extensively covered by local media and the military.
Wir sind wieder unterwegs. Unser #A400M transportiert als MedEvac heute 2 französische Intensivpatienten aus 🇫🇷 nach 🇩🇪. Zusammen mit @SanDstBw bringen wir sie von Straßburg ins Bundeswehrkrankenhaus nach Ulm. #Freundestehenzusammen#Team_Luftwaffe#StrongerTogether#COVID19pic.twitter.com/awbpJVHA8o— Team_Luftwaffe (@Team_Luftwaffe) March 29, 2020
Lack of mutual support has become an issue within the EU, with some members looking for aid elsewhere, including outside of the bloc. Italy – once Europe’s Covid-19 hotspot – welcomed much-needed emergency supplies and military healthcare staff which arrived from Russia, while Spanish leadership warned that the very existence of the EU is at stake unless it stops to “think small.”Also on rt.com EU left Italy ‘practically alone' to fight coronavirus, so Rome looked for help elsewhere, incl Russia – ex-FM Frattini to RT
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