With over 10,000 fatalities, Europe is the worst-hit continent in the Covid19 pandemic. As of today (24 March), there were over 200,000 cases in Europe, more than half of them in Italy and Spain. Solidarity and the ability to act are urgently needed. “Europe must prove that it is living up to its responsibility,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said yesterday. What is Germany doing to help tackle the crisis all over Europe?
Treating intensive care patients from Italy and France
The treatment of intensive care patients suffering from Covid19 is placing an enormous burden on the healthcare systems in parts of Italy and France. In response, a number of German Länder are treating several of these critically ill patients. Last night, the first two of six intensive care patients from Lombardy arrived in Leipzig, where they are being treated at the university hospital. Land North Rhine-Westphalia has announced that it will take further patients from Italy. Germany is also helping Covid19 patients from France. Seventeen people are being treated in Land Baden-Württemberg, Land Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and further hospitals stand ready to accept more patients.
Supplying essential materials
The rapid distribution of ventilators, respiratory masks and other medical supplies is vital. Germany already provided Italy with seven tonnes of aid supplies on 19 March. The delivery included a large number of ventilators, respiratory masks and other medical products. Further deliveries are planned. Deliveries of protective equipment to Switzerland and Austria have also been approved, and Germany is liaising constantly with other European countries on supplies of medical equipment.
Helping stranded EU citizens return home
In an unprecedented repatriation process, the German Government is bringing stranded travellers back home from all over the world. Over 100,000 people have already landed safely in Germany. Here, too, the German Government is thinking of Europe. Stranded citizens from other EU countries are now being taken on almost all German repatriation flights, and cooperation with EU Member States and other third countries is being intensified further in order to fill all available seats. At yesterday’s virtual meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, Foreign Minister Maas and his European counterparts discussed how this cooperation can be expanded even further to make better use of available space.