France plans Europe’s first high-speed medical train for Covid-19

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Paris – France is planning to use Europe’s first “medicalised” high-speed train to transfer Covid-19 patients, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday.

The specially adapted TGV train will transfer patients from overworked hospitals in the Alsace region to other parts of the country on Wednesday, Veran told the National Assembly.

The French military has also evacuated intensive care patients by air from Alsace and by helicopter-carrier from the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Hospitals are under strain in both regions due to severe outbreaks.

Defence Minister Florence Parly tweeted that a military field hospital newly set up in the Alsatian city of Mulhouse had received its first patient on Tuesday.

In total, France had recorded 19,856 confirmed coronavirus infections as of Monday evening, and 860 deaths of hospitalised patients.

Meanwhile, there was growing concern about the situation in old people’s homes, where deaths are not recorded in those statistics.

In Vosges department, near Alsace, local authorities have said that an old people’s home with a total of 164 places has recorded 20 deaths “with a possible link with Covid-19.”

The mayor of Saint Dizier in eastern France told broadcaster BFMTV that there had been 15 deaths at one home in her town.

Veran said the government had told regional health authorities to collect information about the situation in old people’s homes.

“We cannot have all that information in real time but we want to be completely transparent,” he insisted.


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