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France evacuates more coronavirus patients from east to free up hospital beds

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France evacuated 36 more coronavirus patients from the hard-hit east to western areas on Sunday, hoping to free up intensive care units as hospitals brace for even more serious cases in the coming days.

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Two high-speed trains carried patients from Mulhouse and Nancy toward hospitals along Frances western coast, where the outbreak has been limited so far.

Dozens of hospital workers, flanked by police and soldiers standing guard, spent hours installing four patients in each wagon in an operation that began before dawn.

“We have to free up beds, its absolutely crucial that we air out these intensive care units. Were still seeing an increase in patient numbers,” said Francois Brun, head of emergency services at the regional hospital in nearby Metz.

The evacuations came as France announced that the German government would send a military plane on Sunday to bring patients from Alsace to hospitals in Stuttgart and Ulm.

France has already evacuated dozens over the past week from the east, hoping to stay ahead of a crisis that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned would only worsen over the next two weeks.

Overall nearly 4,300 coronavirus patients are in intensive care, many with severe respiratory problems requiring ventilators that officials worry could soon be in short supply.

Philippe said the government was racing to have 14,000 intensive care beds available soon, compared with around 5,000 before the outbreak began in January.

Battle is only starting

France has mobilised its military to help hospitals, with the army using a helicopter to transport two patients to Metz and Essen in western Germany on Saturday.

“This war will probably be won on the basis of intensive care beds, and our ability to strategically use all our intensive care resources on the national level,” said Marie-Odile Saillard, director oRead More – Source