France's COVID-19 'Ground Zero' turns saviour in second wave

By Christian Hartmann STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - In the first wave of COVID-19 earlier this year, the region around Strasbourg was so badly hit that it had to evacuate patients by helicopter. In the second wave, other regions are suffering and the French city is returning the favour. The same helicopters that in the spring were flying patients out of this region in eastern France have instead been fetching patients with COVID-19 from elsewhere and bringing them in for treatment

Reuters November 14, 2020 00:11:11 IST
France's COVID-19 'Ground Zero' turns saviour in second wave

COVID-19 'Ground Zero' turns saviour in second wave" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/11-2020/14/2020-11-13T123001Z_1_LYNXMPEGAC0WD_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-FRANCE-TRANSFERS.jpg" alt="Frances COVID19 Ground Zero turns saviour in second wave" width="300" height="225" />

By Christian Hartmann

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - In the first wave of COVID-19 earlier this year, the region around Strasbourg was so badly hit that it had to evacuate patients by helicopter. In the second wave, other regions are suffering and the French city is returning the favour.

The same helicopters that in the spring were flying patients out of this region in eastern France have instead been fetching patients with COVID-19 from elsewhere and bringing them in for treatment.

"In a way we're paying back in kind," said Christophe Di Stefano, one of the crew of an emergency service helicopter that on Thursday had just flown in a patient from Lyon, south-east France, and delivered them to the Hautepierre Hospital in Strasbourg.

A second helicopter was scheduled to head off again to Lyon later the same day to collect a patient, and Di Stefano's crew was tasked on Friday with picking up someone seriously ill with COVID-19 from Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon.

"We relied on others during the first wave, so now we have the wherewithal to receive and treat people, it's good for us to take part and take the burden off others," he said.

The region around Strasbourg was the earliest and hardest hit by the first wave of the virus, in part because of a week-long evangelical church gathering that turned into a superspreader event. [nL4N2BM0CV]

Intensive care units were overwhelmed. Patients were flown to other parts of France, as well as Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg.

In the second wave, the roles are reversed. The region has 319 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, according to French public health data for Nov. 12, while the region that includes Lyon has 844 patients.

"We can well imagine what they're feeling," said Hakim Arzouq, a Strasbourg doctor who was preparing to take off for the day's second trip to Lyon. "They're happy to see us coming."

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Global Markets: Stocks ascend to record on economic recovery, vaccine outlook
Business

Global Markets: Stocks ascend to record on economic recovery, vaccine outlook

By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks hit a record and oil prices jumped on Monday as the newest positive data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine and signs of economic recovery in Asia boosted sentiment. U.S. stocks advanced, with the Dow Industrials setting a record as it neared the 30,000 mark for the first time, after pharma company Moderna said its prospective vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing the illness, which has crushed economies across the globe

Airbnb IPO filing shows third-quarter earnings beating virus with cost cuts, new focus
Business

Airbnb IPO filing shows third-quarter earnings beating virus with cost cuts, new focus

By Anirban Sen and Joshua Franklin (Reuters) - Airbnb Inc's initial public offering (IPO) registration showed on Monday that the home rental startup turned a profit in the third quarter despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as it gears up for one of the most anticipated stock market debuts in recent years. The filing, published ahead of Airbnb's anticipated stock market debut in December, showed a dramatic recovery in its fortunes, after the coronavirus outbreak dragged down its core home rental business during the first half of the year. The slump forced it to lay off 25% of its workforce in May, suspend marketing activities for the year and seek $2 billion (£1.5 billion) emergency funding from investors, including Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, at a valuation of $18 billion

Biden says U.S., allies need to set global trade rules to counter China's influence
Business

Biden says U.S., allies need to set global trade rules to counter China's influence

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday the United States needed to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China's growing influence but declined to say whether he would join a new China-backed Asian trade pact signed on Sunday.