Germany’s military is to send medical staff to Portugal, where hospital intensive care units are so full due to a surge in coronavirus infections that patients are to be sent hundreds of miles to Austria.
Portugal asked Germany‘s government for help after revealing only seven of 850 ICU beds set up for COVID-19 cases on its mainland were vacant.
“We will support Portugal with medical staff and equipment,” a German defence ministry spokesman said, adding that details were expected to be announced early this week.
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Portugal, which has reported 12,179 coronavirus deaths and 711,018 cases, has the world’s highest seven-day rolling average of cases and deaths per capita, according to figures.
Germany’s military planned to send 27 doctors and paramedics to the country for an initial period of three weeks, as well as stationary and mobile ventilators and field beds for patients, Der Spiegel magazine reported.
Meanwhile, Austria‘s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the country would take in intensive care patients from Portugal.
A spokesman for Mr Kurz added that the number was not yet clear and the two countries were in discussions.
He said in a tweet that “swift, unbureaucratic help” was required to save lives, adding that Austria has previously taken in coronavirus patients from France, Italy and Montenegro.
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