Paris (AFP)

Relieving hospitals in the regions most affected by coronavirus: this is the whole issue of patient transfers which are accelerating this weekend from the Great East and, to a lesser extent, the Ile-de-France.

A first evacuation carried out by a military helicopter took place Saturday morning, from Metz, in order to transport two patients to the hospital in Essen, Germany.

A new rotation of a military helicopter to Germany, with two other patients, will "probably" be carried out on Sunday early in the afternoon, François Braun, chief of the emergency service of the regional hospital center, told AFP (CHR) of Metz.

And other transfers of patients should be decided gradually, according to the evolution of the situation, said the doctor.

These transfers take place as part of Operation Resilience, launched by Emmanuel Macron.

It is also by virtue of this operation that the most important medical evacuation of Covid-19 patients is carried out this weekend on French territory.

In total, it concerns around forty patients who must be transferred from the Grand Est to New Aquitaine, according to the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of the latter region.

Four patients are expected on Saturday in hospitals in Poitiers and Limoges, and on Sunday, 36 others will arrive on two medical TGVs, to be distributed in a dozen cities.

New Aquitaine has 1,640 beds in "critical care" (including resuscitation, intensive and continuous care), of which 569 are available.

This situation contrasts with that of the Ile-de-France, which is increasingly tense: out of 1,500 places in the intensive care units in the Paris region, 1,300 beds are currently occupied.

- Extended confinement -

In places, like in Seine-Saint-Denis, hospitals are already saturated. "We are in the process of switching to war medicine," said Héloïse (modified first name), nurse. No "sorting" of patient is yet mentioned, "but we know that patients over 80 years are not a priority" ...

Fifteen Ile-de-France resuscitation patients must be evacuated to establishments in the Center-Val de Loire region during the weekend, Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon announced Friday evening, speaking of a measure " anticipation".

Because as the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe said on Friday, the health crisis "will not improve quickly", due to an "extremely high" epidemic wave, which "subdues the entire healthcare system , the entire hospital system, at a formidable tension. "

This is why the containment of the population, in force since March 17, was extended Friday until April 15 at least.

According to the latest official report on Friday evening, the epidemic killed 1,995 in hospitals alone, including nearly 300 in the past 24 hours, and led 3,787 patients to intensive care (+412).

In addition to the question of space in hospitals, this epidemic wave also poses that of a possible shortage of drugs.

"We have no break (...), but on the other hand we are really in tension," said Saturday on BFM TV Professor Jean-Michel Constantin, anesthetist resuscitator at Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.

The material is also at the heart of a sling. A group of caregivers, already at the origin of complaints against Edouard Philippe and the ex-Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn, demanded Friday from the government the contracts of orders of masks and tests of detection of the coronavirus of the last three months.

- Ehpad: the concern -

Finally, the situation in nursing homes is also a source of concern, since the elderly are among the most at risk, even though the coronavirus can also strike young people, as the death of a 16-year-old girl recalled this week. years.

"The lack of means is felt with particular acuity in the structures that welcome the elderly and dependent," said the Academy of Medicine on Saturday in a statement.

"The Academy considers it an emergency to provide the elderly establishments with masks and screening tests, both for patients and staff, from the first symptoms," she added.

The Prime Minister must give a press conference on Saturday with the Minister of Health Olivier Véran and promised a "transparent" point of the health situation, in particular the shortage of masks or the question of tests.

Emmanuel Macron, he denied any possible French delay in managing the epidemic. "I approached this crisis seriously and seriously from the start, when it started in China (...) I followed at each stage three essential principles: base our decisions on scientific advice, adapt to the evolution of the crisis, take proportionate measures ", assured the president in an interview published Saturday by three Italian daily newspapers.

© 2020 AFP