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HEALTH

German state of Saxony to take in Italian coronavirus patients

Hospitals in the eastern German state of Saxony will take on at least six Italian coronavirus patients who are unable to receive treatment in their own country, state premier Michael Kretschmer said.

German state of Saxony to take in Italian coronavirus patients
Corona patients from Italy landed at the Leipzig/Halle airport early on Tuesday with the military aircraft "Lockheed C-130 Hercules" from the Italian Air Force. Photo: DPA

“The Italian government asked us a few days ago whether we could help by taking care of patients who are not being taken care of in Italy,” Kretschmer said on Monday.

Following consultation with doctors over hospital capacity in the eastern German state, Saxony has agreed to welcome six Italian patients to hospitals in the cities of Dresden and Leipzig, he added.

An Italian military plane carrying the patients landed at the Leipzig/Halle airport early Tuesday morning.

The patients come from the particularly hard-hit Lombardy region of northern Italy, according to la Repubblica.

“In Italy they are now making an ethically very difficult decision…choosing six people to be put in the aeroplane,” said the state premier.

Kretschmer said that the treatment of Italian patients would be a chance for doctors in Saxony to learn about the novel coronavirus, and also a sign of solidarity.

“This is a very important sign that we are also able to help others,” he said.

German news agency DPA, meanwhile, reported without citing sources that a total of eight patients would be transported to Germany.

Italy has been the country worst hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic, with a world-topping death toll of over 6,000.

With its health service has been stretched to breaking point, other countries such as Russia and the Czech Republic have also offered aid.

Germany has over 29,000 confirmed cases according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University and the Robert Koch Institute for public health.

Saxony is one of the lesser affected of the country's 16 states, with 865 cases so far.

Last weekend, three other German states on the French border announced that they would take care of patients from the eastern region of France, which has also been badly hit by the outbreak.

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HEALTH

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

The World Health Organization's European office said Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths can be expected, following reports of the first fatalities outside Africa, while stressing that severe complications were still be rare.

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, said in a statement.

Smallwood emphasised that the goal needs to be “interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak”.

However, Smallwood stressed that in most cases the disease heals itself without the need for treatment.

“The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” Smallwood noted.

The Spanish health ministry recorded a second monkeypox-related death on Saturday, a day after Spain and Brazil reported their first fatalities.

The announcements marked what are thought to be the first deaths linked to the current outbreak outside Africa.

Spanish authorities would not give the specific cause of death for the fatalities pending the outcome of an autopsy, while Brazilian authorities underlined that the man who died had “other serious conditions”.

“The usual reasons patients might require hospital care include help in managing pain, secondary infections, and in a small number of cases the need to manage life-threatening complications such as encephalitis,” Smallwood explained.

According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected throughout the world outside of Africa since the beginning of May, with the majority of them in Europe.

The WHO last week declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.

As cases surge globally, the WHO on Wednesday called on the group currently most affected by the virus — men who have sex with men — to limit their sexual partners.

Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.

The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, sometimes taking a month.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.

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