The director of the CHU of Fort-de-France, Benjamin Garel, said Thursday that three patients seriously contaminated by the coronavirus would be transferred from Martinique to Paris by a medical flight.

The health situation is deteriorating on the island, a new confinement will begin on Friday at 7 p.m., for 3 weeks. 

The first three patients hospitalized due to Covid-19 in Martinique will be transferred to Paris on Saturday by a medical flight, Benjamin Garel, director of the CHU de Fort-de-France, confirmed Thursday to AFP. "Three patients will leave for Paris on Saturday," the airport management and the air and border police in Fort-de-France confirmed to AFP. In Paris, the Ministry of Health confirmed to AFP "that a medical evacuation (was) in preparation for the metropolis" and that the details would be provided "later".

These transfers come as the Martinican hospital services are saturated by the fourth wave of the epidemic and that a new confinement will be imposed on the island from Friday 7 p.m. for a period of at least three weeks. 

Low vaccination coverage

All the epidemic monitoring indicators are skyrocketing on the island, with an incidence rate that now reaches 1,035 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, 20 times above the alert threshold according to the latest data published on Friday by Health public France.

146 patients are currently hospitalized, an increase of 51% in one week, including 29 in intensive care.

The concern in Martinique is all the greater as vaccination coverage is still low, with 15.9% of the population fully vaccinated, or three times less than the national level (51.6%). 

Forty soldiers as reinforcements

Asked about possible transfers of patients to relieve the CHU of Fort-de-France, Martin Hirsch, director general of Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP), had indicated Thursday morning on RTL that they could intervene " very quickly, in the next few days ", without specifying a date.

Forty soldiers will be sent as reinforcements "in the coming days" to help the medical staff of the CHU of Fort-de-France, with resuscitation beds, the state spokesman also told AFP. -Major of the Armed Forces, Colonel Pascal Ianni.

"The exact sizing is being studied with the Ministry of Health," he added.

But it will be "of the order of 40 to 50 military, medical (doctors, nurses, resuscitators, etc.) and logistics specialists."

Prime Minister Jean Castex was alarmed Thursday morning in Agen about the "dramatic" health situation in some overseas territories including Martinique because too many inhabitants are, according to him, "reluctant to vaccination ".