BERLIN, Germany – Germany is calling up tens of thousands of reservists to help in the country’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Thursday, March 19.
The army began mobilizing its first batches of reserve troops over the weekend, said the minister, adding that it will next standby “other reservist troops in through very targeted calls, and through a general call.”
Europe’s biggest economy has a pool of 75,000 reservists for whom the army has updated contact details, the minister said.
Some 2,300 reservists responded to the weekend mobilization call, including more than 900 who can be deployed to health services, said Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Describing the fight against COVID-19 a marathon, the minister said soldiers can step in when the capacity of civil forces is exhausted.
“We can and will deliver what is needed from us,” she said.
The German government is accelerating efforts to ramp up capacity to treat patients, as official data show the number of infections soaring past 10,000.
The numbers, which also include 20 deaths, are compiled by the disease control agency Robert Koch Institute using information from regional authorities of cases tested for the virus.
But depending on an individual state’s policies, many other possible infections may not be reflected in the numbers because the patients have not been tested as they show only mild symptoms or have not been in contact with a known case.
Speaking at a separate press conference, Health Minister Jens Spahn said regulations will be eased for employees in medical services to help in hospitals, to take the pressure off qualified nurses and doctors. – Rappler.com