For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the German Air Force is preparing to transport critically ill COVID-19 patients to other parts of the country in order to discharge the hospitals that are under enormous pressure at a time when the country today recorded a new record of daily cases the 76,000.
A day earlier, Germany had exceeded the limit of 100,000 deaths associated with COVID-19 amid warnings from hospitals, mainly in the south and east of the country, that their intensive care units were full.
The German Air Force will later transport COVID-19 critically ill patients from the southern city of Memmingen to Münster, near Osnabrück in the north, to decongest clinics in the south, a security source told Reuters.
This is the first time that the Air Force needs to use so-called “flying ICUs”, ie planes equipped with up to six ICU beds, to transport COVID-19 patients within Germany.
Berlin will also declare South Africa a virus-infected region today, following the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19.
The decision, which will take effect tonight, will mean that airlines will only be allowed to transport Germans from South Africa to Germany, according to a Health Ministry source.
The returning Germans, even those who have been vaccinated, will then have to be quarantined for 14 days, according to the same source.
“This variant, which was recently discovered, worries us. That is why we are active here from an early age, “said Health Minister Jens Spann. “The last thing we need now is to introduce a new variant that causes even more problems.”
The variant – B.1.1.529 – has a “very unusual concentration” of mutations, which are worrying because they could help it escape the body’s immune response and make it more contagious, say South African scientists.
Only a drastic reduction in social contacts can stop the fourth wave
The situation in Germany is as dramatic as ever during the pandemic, Health Minister Jens Spann said today, warning that only a drastic reduction in social contacts could halt the fourth wave.
“The situation is as dramatic as ever in this pandemic,” Span told a news conference. “The harder we pull the parking brake, the better,” he added.