The German Air Force – the Luftwaffe – helping transfer Covid-19 patients from overwhelmed southern hospitals as the new government warns the pandemic is spiraling out of control, with daily cases reaching record levels.
A military medevac plane was set to start airlifting critically ill patients from hard-hit Bavaria to other hospitals in northern Germany where there is still capacity in intensive care units on Friday .
New daily infections in Germany hit a record 76,414 on Friday, up from 52,970 new infections per day a week ago.
Europe’s largest economy has now passed the dismal death toll of 100,000 Covid-19-related deaths, with government warning the pandemic has become the country’s worst crisis and expressing concern over a new variant of the virus detected in Africa from South.
“The situation is dramatic and serious,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said at a press conference in Berlin on Friday. “It’s worse than ever in this pandemic. We must do all we can to relieve the pressure on the health care system.
Spahn, whose tenure as minister will end next month once the new government takes office, rebuked the Germans for not reducing contact with others during this fourth wave and said people had previously been more conscientious and cooperative.
“We have a lot of work to do on this,” he said.
The Minister of Health also said that the detection of the new variant of Covid-19 added to concerns about the increase in the number of infections, and that the government would declare South Africa a “virus variant zone” Friday.
Covid-19 infections and death rates have skyrocketed in areas of southern and eastern Germany like Bavaria and Saxony, where vaccination rates are lowest. This has overwhelmed hospital intensive care units and raised fears that doctors will soon resort to “triage” methods – focusing resources on patients with a better chance of survival.
“This is the most serious health crisis ever in Germany,” said Robert Habeck, co-leader of the Green party and new Minister of the Economy, on a German television program Thursday evening. ” Hurry up. We are seeing a doubling of infection rates every 12 days. The hospitals are already full. We only have a few days left.
Annalena Baerbock, co-leader of the Greens party and the country’s new foreign minister, told the magazine Spiegel that neither a vaccination mandate for the entire population nor a new German lockdown could be ruled out.
While Germany handled the first waves of the pandemic relatively well compared to other European countries, its complacency in the summer, a lack of interest in the pandemic during the August-September election campaign, and low vaccination rates have created fertile ground for the surge in infections over the past month.
Germany’s vaccination rate, at 67%, is among the lowest in Western Europe.
The German military has played a quiet support role during the pandemic in recent months, its tasks including helping contact tracing personnel in the country’s 400 countries. Gesundheitsamt health agency offices. But the latest use of the Luftwaffe is a significant development in a country which – in part because of its history – has traditionally held the military on a leash.
A specially equipped Airbus A310 MedEvac was scheduled to transport half a dozen intensive care patients from Memmingen Airport in Bavaria to Münster-Osnabrück Airport in northwestern Germany later on Friday. The Luftwaffe has another specially equipped medical evacuation plane on standby.
The Independent Gt