Last year Germany was still celebrated because it accepted Covid patients from its neighboring countries and often also healed them.

Now solidarity has gone in the opposite direction.

Take Italy as an example: South Tyrol has admitted two patients from the Erding district in the past few days, one in Merano and another in Bolzano.

"The patient in Meran was able to leave the hospital and returned to Germany," reported the top Covid operations manager in South Tyrol, Marc Kaufmann, to the FAZ. The situation at the other, who was treated in Bolzano, was even more critical at the weekend.

Christian Schubert

Economic correspondent for Italy and Greece.

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Lombardy is also showing itself to be helpful.

The region was the first in Europe to be badly hit by the pandemic last year.

Images of the dead who were transported from Bergamo in military vehicles went around the world.

However, a few days ago, the regional councilor of Lombardy, Letizia Moratti, who is responsible for social issues, announced on Twitter that she had called on the responsible directorate-general “to give Germany the opportunity to accept Covid patients in our hospitals - in the name of international fraternity and solidarity that helped our country over the past year ”.

Tremendous load

These international transports could soon become concrete.

Because, according to Bavaria, the state health minister of Baden-Württemberg, Manfred Lucha, reported on Tuesday that "we have prepared ourselves, if it were necessary to move abroad." The burden on the hospital staff is enormous.

"The people can no longer", reported Lucha.

The situation in Italy is not as dramatic as in Germany, even if the number of infections is also increasing south of the Alps.

The Italian government released the compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups months ago and started compulsory 3-G evidence at all workplaces in mid-October.

Around 13,000 new infections and 89 deaths have been reported in Italy in the past 24 hours.

There were 638 Covid patients in intensive care units across the country.

In addition, the northern regions have just upgraded the hospitals.

“At the beginning of the pandemic last year, we only had 35 intensive care beds available in South Tyrol,” reports Kaufmann, “now we have significantly more”.

The State Health Councilor Thomas Widmann spoke of 100 beds in February, but this has been criticized in medical circles because there are not enough staff for this number.

Operations manager Kaufmann also admits that the workforce is scarce.

"Several hundred nurses are" no longer on board "because they have been suspended from duty due to a lack of 3-G evidence or have been transferred to less sensitive positions.

As a result, South Tyrol was unable to comply with the Erding district's request to send personnel to Germany.

Italy, on the other hand, would like to take in patients.

Kaufmann reminds us that modern hospitals are available in South Tyrol and that the mortality rate for Covid cases is lower than the German average.

However, it should be remembered that the transport poses a risk to the patient.

It is technically complex and has to be accompanied by a number of specialists.

Particularly severe cases could therefore no longer be relocated at all.