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HEALTH

Germany to cover costs of coronavirus patients flown in from EU countries

Germany will foot the bill for treating novel coronavirus patients taken in from European Union neighbour countries as a gesture of goodwill, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Monday.

Germany to cover costs of coronavirus patients flown in from EU countries
Doctors receive a seriously ill coronavirus patient from France at Dresden International Airport on April 2nd. Photo: DPA

Germany has been spared the worst of the coronavirus crisis seen in some of its hard-hit European neighbours, and has taken in patients — mainly from France and Italy — to relieve pressure on their overburdened healthcare systems.

More than 200 seriously ill COVID-19 patients from other EU nations are currently in German intensive care units, at a cost of about 20 million.

A total of 229 foreign patients have been treated in Germany, a spokesman
for the foreign ministry said Monday — 130 from France, 44 from Italy and 55 from the Netherlands.

“Germany will cover the treatment costs of these patients, that is what we understand by European solidarity,” Spahn said ahead of a meeting of ministers tackling the virus crisis on Monday.

READ ALSO: German state of Saxony to take in Italian coronavirus patients

“The willingness and capacity is there to admit more if necessary,” he added.

The number of coronavirus deaths and infections in Germany has remained well below some of its neighbours.

As of Monday morning, Europe's biggest economy had over 145,000 confirmed cases and 4,624 deaths, while Spain and Italy have reported more than 20,000 deaths each. France has close to 20,000 fatalities while Britain has more than 16,000.

Germany had 28,000 intensive care beds before the start of the crisis and has since increased that number to 30,000.

Over 12,600 beds remained free Sunday according to the Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (DIVI).

Spahn's announcement came as many parts of Germany prepared to reopen some shops and schools on Monday after weeks of a partial lockdown which saw most non-essential businesses in the Bundesrepublik close.

The health minister said Friday the pandemic was “under control”.

READ ALSO: Germany starts to slowly open up as coronavirus deemed 'under control'

 

Member comments

  1. Thank you Germany. But the damage has already been done. When Italy was at the very peak of the crisis, all EU nations including Germany abandoned them even if they had spare capacity.

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CULTURE

‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.

READ ALSO: 

Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music

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