First Covid-19 patients transferred from Liège to Germany via helicopter

First Covid-19 patients transferred from Liège to Germany via helicopter
Credit: Martin Kotthaus/Twitter

The first three Covid-19 patients have been transferred from the Belgian city of Liège to hospitals in Germany via helicopter on Tuesday.

"Today, the first three Covid-19 patient transfers by helicopter from Belgium Liège to Münster and Bonn!" German Ambassador Martin Kotthaus tweeted. "EU Solidarity and active Belgian-German friendship."

Another patient had already been transferred from Liège University Hospital to Germany last week, but that happened by ambulance.

The situation in the hospitals in the Liège province is “worse than in March,” according to Philippe Devos, intensive care physician of the Liège CHC hospital group, who told RTL that there is a 50-50 chance that all intensive care beds would be occupied in ten days.

On Thursday 29 October, Belgian Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced that he made arrangements about the transfer of patients with his German colleagues, calling it a "fine example of self-evident European solidarity.”

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However, Vandenbroucke clarified that it would not concern large groups of patients. “These are delicate decisions, that should be considered at a patient-by-patient basis,” he said.

In the meantime, Belgian hospitals have skipped over Phase 2A of the nationwide coronavirus hospital response plan, and moved straight into Phase 2B this week.

Phase 2B requires hospitals to create 500 new intensive care beds and 300 beds for intensive oxygen therapy, and to cancel more non-urgent procedures and consultations.

Additionally, all intensive care units in Brussels reached their maximum capacity on Monday, according to Inge Neven of the Brussels Health Inspectorate.

“This means that when new patients arrive, there should automatically be a transfer from Brussels to one of the other hospitals in Belgium, or abroad.”

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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