The “Bundeswehr”, the German federal army, will send a first special aid flight with personnel and material to Portugal at the beginning of the week in the face of the catastrophic situation of the coronavirus epidemic in the Iberian country, where the high rate of infections has overwhelmed hospitals, reports the German digital Spiegel Online. The first aircraft to take off from Germany will carry a first team of 27 doctors and health workers who will initially stay in Portugal for three weeks, although their stay could be extended if necessary. Other flights with cargo planes of the «Luftwaffe», the German air force, will also transport medical material this week, from field hospital beds to mobile respirators, urgently needed for patients in the most serious condition in the Portuguese state. In the German Ministry of Defense there is a crisis cabinet in charge exclusively of attending to the medical needs of Portugal, where the situation is described as dramatic by the German army health workers, with long experience in crisis management. A first team of German military experts is already in Lisbon to see what the most pressing needs are.
The Lisbon government had directly requested help from the German Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, given the unstoppable spread in Portugal of the Sars-Cov-2 mutation detected for the first time in the United Kingdom. 70 percent of the medical personnel in Portuguese hospitals are infected with the coronavirus, said the Lisbon executive in his request for help to the German army. Sources from the “Bundeswehr” highlighted that in their direct contacts with their Portuguese military colleagues, they drew a catastrophic picture of the situation, with a health system currently unable to cope with the avalanche of infections and serious patients registered in the country. Every military doctor and every German sanitary soldier who flies to Portugal will be a huge help, the Portuguese military said. Portugal currently has the highest global incidence of the coronavirus with rates exceeding 800 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in a week.
The German federal army has also collaborated since the beginning of the pandemic in the transfer of seriously ill patients from other countries to Germany to be treated in German hospitals. German planes and helicopters, but also road ambulances, transferred patients from Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands to German hospitals at critical moments. For this reason, it is not ruled out that medicalized “Luftwaffe” planes will also fly Portuguese patients in serious condition to Germany in the coming days to unload Portuguese hospitals. The critical situation in Portugal due to the coronavirus made this Saturday the German federal government order the suspension of all human trafficking with that country. Berlin has ordered the suspension of all flights to or from Portugal in order to prevent the Sars-Cov-2 mutation recorded there from spreading in Germany. A ban that equally affects the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil and South Africa for the same reasons.