Paris: Airlift of coronavirus patients discussed by experts
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Patients have been transferred to hospitals in the western regions of France as the capital’s hospitals overflow with coronavirus cases. The country has seen a spike in cases and of people requiring intensive care as President Emmanuel Macron refuses to implement a full lockdown. France now has the sixth-highest total of COVID-19 cases in the world as new strains wreak havoc across both the rural and urban populations.
While a handful of patients have been sent to Le Mon and Nante in the west more are scheduled to be transferred by air in the coming days.
Trains will also be used to move larger quantities of patients to lift the pressure off Paris’s hospitals.
President of the Paramedics of France union, Francois Braun, said: “Greater Paris is using these transfers to ease pressure on the system, so small but daily movements.
“Larger transfers are coming next week, however.”
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A spokesperson for the Urgent Care Doctors’ Association, Christophe Prudhomme, criticised the move as being too risky.
He said: “It’s completely impractical. There are risks for the patients in every sense.
“The risk/benefit balance right now is too uncertain, it would be better just to add more hospital beds.”
The French Government is facing pressure to implement a national lockdown and to quickly roll out their vaccination programme.
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However, President Emmanuel Macron is facing vaccine hesitancy from the population after his condemnation of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Macron claimed the vaccine did not work for anyone aged 65+.
France is also suffering from a lack of vaccine supply as they have signed up to the EU vaccine procurement scheme which has been too slow in securing contracts.
Head of operations at Val D’ouse Paramedics, Xavier Rigaud, said: “We opened two centres last weekend and vaccinated 634 people.
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“This weekend we’re vaccinating 400 each day and giving out second doses next weekend.
An ICU doctor working in France told France 24 that without a slowdown in case they would be forced to discharge patients early.
He said: “Our backup plan is to discharge patients earlier than planned.
“It’s not perfect but it’s the only solution we have.”
In the Paris region, 1,082 people were admitted to ICU units on March 12.
Despite the vaccination struggles France has been experiencing, President Macron announced on Monday the country will temporarily suspend the roll-out of the AstraZeneca jab over fears of the jab causing clotting in recipients.
AstraZeneca conducted a review of the vaccine following reports of blood clots developing and insisted that the number of cases experiencing side effects is not extensive.
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