Europe has become the epicenter of the epidemic with alarming situations in certain areas, notably in Italy. European countries, like France, have called on their army as reinforcements to fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
The governments of many European countries have called on the military to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Either to provide medical aid or to support the security forces so that confinement is respected. Some examples from some of our European neighbors.
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In Germany, we anticipate
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been mobilizing army reservists since March 20 to fight the coronavirus. “We are preparing for the moment when the armed forces will be exhausted”said the minister. Of the approximately 75,000 reservists in Germany, around 2,300 have been mobilized, added to the 900 “medical reservists” who have already come forward.
In Switzerland, the “militia” as reinforcement
In this country where everyone must perform military service, the army intends to mobilize up to 8,000 “militiamen” – as they are called in the Swiss Confederation – out of the 100,000 currently identified. In Switzerland, the last recourse to the army in a health context dates back to 2015. In a period of strong heat wave, the soldiers had been mobilized to supply water to the cattle in the mountain pastures.
Italy manages the emergency
It is one of the countries most affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus. Faced with this rampant epidemic, Italy has called in reinforcements for its army to evacuate patients by helicopter to hospitals where beds are available. Our neighbor across the Alps unfortunately also had to ask the military for help in caring for the dead, particularly in Bergamo, Lombardy.
In this town, located in the heart of the main center of coronavirus, funeral services are outdated. The military has already dispatched 15 military trucks last week to transfer the remains of the victims to neighboring towns. According to the daily Il Corriere della Sera, 17,000 soldiers have been mobilized in addition to the 7,000 who patrol the Italian streets for public order missions.
In Spain, the objective is health
Among our Spanish neighbors, the pandemic takes unexpected proportions. The Madrid region, the most affected in the country, is the subject of a health mission by the country’s army. The pavilions of the capital’s trade fair have been transformed into a field hospital where 200 patients have already been treated last weekend. 1,300 beds have already been installed, according to the regional government, and eventually the hospital could have 5,500, making it the largest hospital in Europe. The military, as in France and Italy, also help transfer patients to less overcrowded structures. They also carry out disinfection operations, particularly in retirement homes, which are very threatened.
France is currently confined to health missions. The Armed Forces Health Service and the army have deployed an intensive care unit capable of accommodating 30 intensive care patients in the parking lot of Mulhouse hospital in the Haut-Rhin. Several Air Force A330 Phoenix Air Force Morpheus rotations have taken place between Mulhouse and the Paca, New Aquitaine and Brittany regions to transfer patients to establishments able to accommodate them. A building of the French Navy, the “Tonnerre”, equipped with a hospital on board, evacuated from Ajaccio, in Corsica, 12 patients to hospitals in Marseille.