France to transfer COVID patients to Germany: hospitals
France is planning to transfer COVID-19 patients to Germany for treatment within days as some hospitals creak under the pressure from spiking virus cases, a hospitals federation said Tuesday.
Some patients in the heavily affected northern region of Hauts-de-France will moved to Germany as well as other parts of France, said Frederic Valletoux, president of the FHF hospitals federation.
The move comes as the government appeared to consider re-imposing a night curfew in Paris, in addition to the current confinement measures, to make it harder to skirt lockdown rules.
The capital and its suburbs have been hit hard by spiraling coronavirus cases, with hospitals filling up fast.
"Some regions are feeling enormous pressure," Valletoux told reporters.
Patient transfers from the Hauts-de-France region to Germany were planned within the coming 10 days, when intensive care units in France are expected to reach saturation point, he said.
Some patients had already been transferred to other hospitals in France, especially Brittany where COVID cases are relatively rare, he said.
During the height of the first wave of cases in March and April, France had to send dozens of patients to Germany as well as Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Earlier Tuesday, the French government seemed in a curfew kerfuffle when spokesman Gabriel Attal said Paris residents would soon have to be off the streets at night, similar to the 9:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew set last month.
Such a move would affect Paris and its region, Attal told BFM television.
Yet he was almost immediately contradicted by the prime minister's office, which said such a measure "has absolutely not been decided."
The office added however in a statement to AFP that "a decision will be taken in the coming days".
Attal also said that 100,000 people had undergone police checks enforcing the new nationwide lockdown rules so far, with 14,000 fined for violating them.
"In view of these situations were will bring back the curfew in Paris and maybe the Ile-de-France region," he said. "At 9:00 pm I think."
Current lockdown rules allow for people to be outdoors for up to an hour near their homes at any time of the day or night, and travel to and from work when necessary—even though work-from-home is being strongly encouraged.
Attal said the fact that rules were now less stringent than during the first lockdown in the spring had allowed people to gather for clandestine parties in backyards and bars.
© 2020 AFP