Under-pressure French hospitals to start sending Covid-19 patients to Germany

France is planning to transfer Covid-19 patients to Germany for treatment within days as some hospitals creak under the pressure from spiking virus cases, a hospitals federation said on Tuesday.

Under-pressure French hospitals to start sending Covid-19 patients to Germany
A covid patient being evacuated in Paris in April 2020.Photo: AFP

Some patients in the heavily affected northern region of Hauts-de-France will moved to Germany as well as other parts of France, said Frederic Valletoux, president of the FHF hospitals federation.

The move comes as the government appeared to consider re-imposing a night curfew in Paris, in addition to the current confinement measures, to make it harder to skirt lockdown rules.

The capital and its suburbs have been hit hard by spiralling coronavirus cases, with hospitals filling up fast.

“Some regions are feeling enormous pressure,” Valletoux told reporters.

Patient transfers from the Hauts-de-France region to Germany were planned within the coming 10 days, when intensive care units in France are expected to reach saturation point, he said.

Some patients had already been transferred to other hospitals in France, especially Brittany where Covid cases are relatively rare, he said.

During the height of the first wave of cases in March and April, France had to send dozens of patients to Germany as well as Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland, as well as transferring patients to less badly affected regions of France in specially adapted trains.

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French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With France in the middle of a new wave of Covid-19, the country's health minister has urged the public to once again wear face masks on public transport and in crowded spaces.

French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With cases on the rise again, French Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said she is “[asking] the French to put masks back on in transport” in an interview with RTL on Monday, 

For the time being, however, she stressed it was just advice, rather than an obligation, and masks have in fact been recommended on public transport since the legal requirement to wear them was lifted in May. 

However with France reporting over 50,000 daily cases of Covid-19 the government is clearly concerned by the current wave of the pandemic.

Bourguignon said that “we must protect ourselves and protect others,” adding that wearing a mask is “a civic gesture.”

She urged people to don their masks as soon as they see a crowded train or station.

READ MORE: Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

In addition to public transport, Bourguignon is also asking the French to once again mask-up in “all crowded, enclosed areas.”

Currently, masks are only required in hospitals, health centres and places that have vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. They are recommended in crowded spaces where it is impossible to practice social distancing.