Covid latest news: Germany sends patients abroad as hospitals are pushed to the brink

, Covid latest news: Germany sends patients abroad as hospitals are pushed to the brink, The Habari News

 A German state has been forced to transfer two coronavirus patients to Italy in an unprecedented move as the country faces a ‘terrible’ fourth wave. 

Europe is at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic yet again as a wave of infections sweeps across the continent, forcing new lockdown measures and pushing hospitals to the brink of collapse. 

It could lead to almost 450,000 additional deaths before February, the World Health Organization has warned

Germany has experienced a dramatic rise in infections in recent weeks, and recorded 65,371 new cases in the last 24 hours. 

Hospitals across Germany are struggling to find space for coronavirus patients, Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s national disease control centre, warned on Thursday.   

The transfer of two patients from the Bavarian town of Freising to Merano in the Italian Alps last week is thought to be the first time Germany has transferred coronavirus patients to neighbouring countries. While there is no national ICU bed shortage yet hospitals in Bavaria are already at capacity. 

“We are currently heading toward a serious emergency,” Mr Wielers said.  “We are going to have a really terrible Christmas if we don’t take countermeasures now.”

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11:48AM

Full lockdown to hit Austria 

A full coronavirus lockdown will be reimposed in at least two regions of Austria next week, reports our Berlin Correspondent Justin Huggler. 

Austria became the first European country to impose a lockdown on the unvaccinated this week, while those who have had both jabs remain free.

But Salzburg and Upper Austria say that is not enough. They plan to put everybody, including the vaccinated, back under lockdown from next week.

Regional governments in the two states have been lobbying for a full national lockdown, and announced on Thursday if there is no agreement they will go it alone.

Austria is currently battling one of the severest outbreaks of the virus in Europe. It recorded more than 15,000 new cases on Thursday, and has a seven-day incidence of 989 per 100,000 inhabitants — nearly three times as high as the UK’s.

Details of the restrictions under consideration were not immediately available, but the two regions could be the first in Europe to go back into full lockdown.

11:35AM

Cases skyrocket in France 

France registered more than 20,000 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the first time since Aug 25 as the fifth wave of the epidemic picked up speed.

The health ministry reported 20,294 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total to 7.33 million and the seven-day moving average of new cases to above 12,400.

France’s Covid-19 incidence rate – the number of new cases per week per 100,000 people – rose further to 129, although that remained well below neighbouring countries such as Germany, Britain and Belgium where such rates are several times higher.

11:18AM

What could be next for Germany? 

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said a national effort was needed to block the wave of infections battering the country. 

, Covid latest news: Germany sends patients abroad as hospitals are pushed to the brink, The Habari News

Ms Merkel wants tighter restrictions and new steps to be introduced by federal and regional leaders, particularly those in severely affected areas. 

A draft of the document set to be discussed by the chancellor and officials includes measures forcing people to show proof of vaccination or recovery or a negative Covid-19 test on public transport and at work and imposing tighter restrictions for leisure activities.

, Covid latest news: Germany sends patients abroad as hospitals are pushed to the brink, The Habari News

A man is tested at a Corona testing station in Duisburg, western Germany

Credit:
INA FASSBENDER /AFP

In addition, financial aid for companies and individuals hit by the crisis could be extended by three months to the end of March 2022.

Ms Merkel appealed to vaccine-sceptics to change their minds and called for a speedier distribution of booster shots.

“If enough people get vaccinated that is the way out of the pandemic,” she told a congress of German city mayors.

11:04AM

Belgium: Alarm signals are red 

Belgium has tightened its coronavirus restrictions in a last ditch effort to avoid a full lockdown. 

“All the alarm signals are red,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. “Europe’s map is quickly going red, and we are the same.”

Children over the age of 10 will face compulsory mask-wearing, lowering the bar from the current age of 12.

Working from home will be enforced from Saturday for four days of the week. 

And a Covid Safe Ticket, a pass showing vaccination, testing or recovery status, will be required for all theatres, cinemas and museums.

It is thought Belgium will roll out a third booster vaccination by the end of April 2022. 

10:28AM

Good morning 

Good morning and welcome to The Telegraph’s Covid liveblog. Here’s a snapshot of the latest news from around the world as compiled by Reuters: 

  •  The UK Health Security Agency said children aged between 12 and 15 should delay getting a Covid-19 vaccine if they’ve recently had the virus to at least 12 weeks after they were infected.
  • Germany’s coronavirus situation is dramatic, the Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned, calling for an extra push on vaccinations a day before federal and regional leaders meet to agree on measures to curb a fourth wave of the virus.
  • Spain is now offering third doses of vaccines to people aged 60 and over, expanding the booster shot programme from the previous age threshold of 70 as infections rise.
  • Canada is set to announce on Friday that it is no longer obliging Canadian travellers returning from short foreign trips to take expensive molecular Covid tests, a government source said on Wednesday.
  • Melbourne’s pubs and cafes can have unlimited patrons from Thursday night, while stadiums can return to full capacity as authorities lifted nearly all remaining Covid restrictions for the vaccinated residents in Australia’s second-largest city.
  • Indian states are sitting on more than 200million doses of  vaccines due to a reluctance among people to get inoculated, the chief executive of top vaccine maker the Serum Institute of India has said.
  • Overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs during the pandemic is helping bacteria develop resistance that will render these important medicines ineffective over time, the Pan American Health Organization has warned.
  • Moderna Inc said it had applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for authorisation of its Covid booster vaccine for all adults aged 18 and older.