Covid wave may overwhelm German health system - minister

Covid wave may overwhelm German health system - minister

German health authorities warned that the wave of Covid-19 cases sweeping over the country threatens to swamp the health-care system if residents don’t act quickly to reduce their contacts. 

“We need to stop this wave now,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a press conference on Friday. “Otherwise we will experience the thing we always wanted to prevent: the health system becoming overwhelmed.” 

Germany is facing a one-two pandemic punch: many of its hospitals are staggering under a rising wave of Covid cases, even as it joins the European Union in moving quickly to limit travel from southern Africa over concerns about a new variant that has arisen there, Bloomberg reported.

Daily cases in Germany have repeatedly hit records this month. Deaths have risen too, but remain well below the levels seen last winter. Hospitals in the hardest-hit areas are already transferring patients elsewhere, and doctors say it will be increasingly necessary to make tough decisions about which patients should get priority. 

Spahn called for a meeting of regional leaders in coming days, which would be necessary in order to move toward a lockdown.  Meanwhile, starting on Friday night, only German citizens will be allowed to fly back from South Africa. A 14-day quarantine will be mandatory even for fully vaccinated travelers.