Germany starts airlifting patients as pandemic cases continue to rise

The German air force is to start transferring COVID-19 patients on Friday from regions where hospitals are struggling to cope with coronavirus pandemic cases to other regions, as cases continued to rise across the country.

A Luftwaffe Airbus A310 MedEvac, with a capacity for six patients, is to take off from Memmingen airport in Bavaria shortly after midday to transfer patients to the north in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

The aircraft is one of two the Luftwaffe announced were on standby on Thursday.

The other is a surveillance aircraft with a capacity for two.

Intensive care units at hospitals in the south and east of the country are filling with patients, while there is still space capacity in the north and west.

The situation largely reflects vaccination rates, which differ widely from region to region.

Bavarian Health Minister, Klaus Holetschek, said he could rule nothing out when interviewed by regional public broadcaster BR late on Thursday.

There are “no taboos”, Holetschek said.

Bavarian Premier, Markus Soeder, recently raised the hotly debated issue of compulsory vaccination for the wider population.

Bavaria has imposed a lockdown in regions where the seven-day incidence exceeds 1,000 per 100,000 of the population.

Nationwide, the official disease control body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a new record level in infections early on Friday of 76,414 cases detected over the most recent 24-hour period.

A week ago, the figure was 52,970.

The RKI put the seven-day incidence figure at 438.2, up from 340.7 a week ago and 113.0 a month ago. (dpaNAN)

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