DThe coronavirus is spreading further in Germany: In Rhineland-Palatinate, the novel coronavirus has been found in one patient for the first time. The Bundeswehr announced on Wednesday that it was a soldier who was being treated in the Bundeswehr central hospital in Koblenz.
According to the Bundeswehr, the 41-year-old had contact with a seriously ill person or his wife from Gangelt in the Heinsberg district of North Rhine-Westphalia at the carnival there. The sick couple is currently being treated in the University Hospital Düsseldorf.
Baden-Württemberg also reported three more cases on Wednesday. This was announced by the University Hospital Tübingen and the Ministry of Health in Stuttgart. A case from the Göppingen district was previously known. The two new infections in Tübingen are directly related to the first sick patient. Both the travel companion of the man from vacation in Italy and her father were infected. The third patient, a 32-year-old from the Rottweil district, had no connections to the three other infected people, according to the authorities.
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) sees Germany “at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic”. In a conference call, he asked the health ministers of the federal states to “activate their pandemic plans and prepare for their possible entry into force,” Spahn said in Berlin on Wednesday. “The situation has changed in the past few hours, unfortunately you have to say that,” added the Minister. No pandemic has yet broken out – “but I think it’s important that we prepare for this situation”.
Federal government forms crisis team
Against the background of the new coronavirus cases in Germany, it is “questionable” whether the previous strategy of the authorities is working – that is, to limit the virus and interrupt the infection chains. It has been shown that the “infection chains are sometimes not understandable,” said Spahn. “That is the new quality.” He added: “The likelihood that this epidemic will pass Germany will not arise.”
The federal government forms a crisis team. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Spahn wanted to inform in Berlin on Thursday about the establishment of the joint crisis management team of their ministries, it said in an invitation on Wednesday. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert had previously said that the virus had moved significantly closer.
Who are the patients and how are they?
The state of the first coronavirus patient in North Rhine-Westphalia is critical. On Monday, the man with symptoms of severe pneumonia was admitted to a hospital in Erkelenz in the Heinsberg district near Aachen and isolated in the intensive care unit. On Wednesday night he was brought to the University Hospital in Düsseldorf. According to dpa information, the patient is in his mid-40s and has a previous medical condition.
Now NRW has a second coronavirus case – it is the 46-year-old wife. She is a kindergarten teacher, says the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Health Karl-Josef Laumann. Both patients were in the University Hospital Düsseldorf. The two have two school-age children who currently have no symptoms, as Laumann said in Düsseldorf on Wednesday.
According to district administrator Stephan Pusch (CDU), the infected had an “infinite number of contacts” with other people in the past 10 to 14 days. According to Laumann, they were – already contagious – still taking part in social life during the carnival season. Pusch said in Düsseldorf on Wednesday that it was now a matter of “breaking the chains of infection”.
The man was treated in the Cologne university clinic last week. After the health department was informed on Tuesday evening that the man had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, it was determined who came into contact with the patient. Ten employees of the university clinic and 31 patients were identified.
An employee of the university clinic showed symptoms of the disease. The result of the corona virus test is still pending, said Florian Klein, the director of virology at Cologne University Hospital on Wednesday. She is isolated in the university clinic and is being examined. The woman came to the clinic on her own initiative and said that she did not feel well.
According to Pusch, the sick man from NRW had contact with an acquaintance who had been in China recently on business. The “Aachener Zeitung” reported. At first, Pusch could not say whether this man had also received treatment.
In Rheinland-Pfalz The Sars-CoV-2 virus, which can trigger Covid-19 lung disease, has been detected in a soldier. The Bundeswehr said it was a 41-year-old soldier who was ready to fly at the Cologne Wahn military airport and who had been treated at the Bundeswehr Central Hospital in Koblenz since Wednesday. He has flu-like symptoms, but is “in good condition”. In the neighboring federal states of Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, infections with the novel virus had previously been detected for the first time.
According to the Bundeswehr, the soldier was in contact with the seriously ill or his wife from Gangelt in the Heinsberg district of North Rhine-Westphalia at the carnival there. “Just because he heard that his acquaintance was being treated in the university clinic in Düsseldorf, he got in touch,” said senior physician Thomas Harbaum. Previously, the 41-year-old believed in normal flu. Now an attempt is being made to find his contact persons in order to inform them “because of domestic segregation”. For security reasons, the Cologne-Wahn military airport was temporarily closed on Wednesday.
Shortly before new cases become known on Wednesday afternoon in Baden-Wurttemberg the local health minister, Manne Lucha (Green), had announced details of “patient zero”, a 25-year-old man from Göppingen. The case became known on Tuesday evening.
According to Lucha, the young man had visited a friend in Milan together with a friend. Two days after the first symptoms, he reported to the health department. On the same day, a smear was examined at the State Health Office (LGA) and the patient was taken to a clinic, said Stefan Brockmann, head of the LGA competence center for health protection. There the patient is treated in isolation. But he is doing well, his condition is stable.
It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that one of the two patients infected with the novel coronavirus in Tübingen was employed as a senior physician in the pathology of the university hospital. The 60-year-old is said to have had contact with other doctors since the weekend – these contacts have been fully recorded, announced the clinic on Wednesday in Tübingen. A dozen senior physicians were tested and “taken out of health care”. You are under observation.
The man’s 24-year-old daughter is also infected with the virus and is treated in isolation. She had accompanied the first patient from Baden-Württemberg, a 25-year-old from Göppingen, to Milan. There are currently a particularly large number of infected patients in northern Italy.
Finally, on Wednesday evening, a fourth infection with the coronavirus became known in Baden-Württemberg. The 32-year-old affected person from the Rottweil district had entered the risk area in Italy and had no connection to the three previously reported patients in the southwest, the Ministry of Health said in Stuttgart on Wednesday. After returning from Codogno in Italy, the man reported to the local health department about the typical flu-like symptoms. The suspicion was confirmed early Wednesday evening.
The man is now being cared for in a hospital and treated in isolation from other patients. His wife, who had traveled with him, and his child have been tested negative, according to the ministry. They remained in “domestic segregation,” it said in the message.
A total of 16 coronavirus infections had previously been detected in Germany, most of these patients have now been discharged from the hospital. 14 of the cases occurred in Bavaria on. The other two cases were China returnees, that had been flown out by the federal government. They were treated at the university clinic in Frankfurt am Main and released in mid-February.
What measures are being taken?
“The responsible authorities are now working intensively on the cases to prevent the spread of the corona virus as much as possible,” said Laumann. It cannot be ruled out that there may be other cases in the country. “But our healthcare system is well prepared and prepared for such diseases.”
In both Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, the authorities worked flat out on all of them Contact persons of coronavirus patients to prevent the spread of the pathogen.
The district of Heinsberg has convened a crisis team that has already taken the first measures. So they stay schools and kindergartens closed in the district until Monday, there should be no public traffic in the district administration.
The Baden-Württemberg Minister of Health Manne Lucha (Greens) urged prudence. “Baden-Württemberg prepared for this case early on. All parties involved work closely and intensively together. ”Lucha wanted to cancel his vacation and inform the press on Wednesday.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said that the goal in Germany was to delay a wave of illness in order to prevent the Covid-19 and the current flu waves from coinciding.
A spokeswoman for DB Regio NRW told the German press agency early Wednesday morning that they were “in constant communication” with the authorities. Possible measures against spreading could also include restricting public transport.
Should the authorities closure of a company because of the corona virus, employers are obliged to continue to pay employees. This applies “if the employees are fit for work and ready to work, but the employer cannot employ them for reasons that lie within their business sphere”. This was confirmed by the Federal Ministry of Labor (BMAS) at the request of the editorial network in Germany. The canceled working hours generally do not have to be reworked, said a spokesman.
If kindergartens or schools remain closed as a precaution against the spread of the novel corona virus, workers can stay at home for childcare if necessary. Whether or not they continue to receive their salary during this time depends on whether no other support was really possible, explains Nathalie Oberthür, specialist lawyer for labor law from Cologne.
How do experts and politicians assess the situation?
The hospital association sees a possible illness of the staff as the greatest challenge in the event of a major coronavirus outbreak in Germany. The clinics are fundamentally well equipped and prepared for a situation similar to that of flu, said regional association manager Matthias Einwag. They are also prepared for isolating the sick. “But since there is no vaccination against the virus unlike the flu, we get a problem when doctors and nurses fall ill.” Then the lack of specialists will become even more noticeable.
In view of the spread in Europe and Germany, the federal government speaks of a “new situation”. The virus has moved significantly closer, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Wednesday in Berlin.
The corona epidemic has now spread to almost 30 countries worldwide, and 80,000 infections are known. More than 2,600 people have died from it – most of them in China, the source of the epidemic.
Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet (CDU) sees the fight against the new corona virus as a European task: “The cases don’t stop at the border,” said Laschet in the online program “BILD Live”. The situation must now be “solved together at a European level,” says Laschet.
A spokesman for the Bavarian Ministry of Health said, “If necessary, important fundamental rights such as freedom of the person, freedom of assembly or inviolability of the home, as well as the right to physical integrity can be restricted.”
Italy is currently fighting the largest source of infection in Europe. According to the authorities, the number of fatalities there rose to twelve on Wednesday, and the number of infected to 374.
Despite this development, several European health ministers decided at a crisis meeting in Rome to leave the borders with Italy open for the time being. This was announced by the Italian Minister of the Interior Roberto Speranza after talking to his colleagues from Germany, France, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland in Rome. Closing the borders “would be a mistake and disproportionate”.
After the meeting, Spahn said: “We take the situation very, very seriously.” In the cases that have now arisen in Europe, “not every chain of infection can be traced”. “That means we have a new situation that we have to deal with,” Spahn continued. When he spoke in Rome, the new cases of infection in Germany were not officially known.