Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health:
Mister President! Dear Colleagues!
The cabinet has of course also dealt with the corona eruption in Germany and Europe. The corona virus and its spread is a challenge for society as a whole. The medical consequences are part of it; but of course it is not only limited – I think we feel that more than ever these days – to medical consequences. As of this morning, there are 1,296 reported cases in Germany. The focus remains on North Rhine-Westphalia with currently 484 infections. We also have the first deaths in Germany.
The situation is still very dynamic. On Tuesday, due to the current development, the Robert Koch Institute declared Italy to be a corona risk area. That is why we as the Federal Ministry of Health have called on all returnees to Italy – the citizens who come back to Germany from all over Italy – to limit their contact with others to what is absolutely necessary in the two weeks after their return and to take care of it that there is as little risk of infection as possible, possibly doing homework and possibly not sending the children to school or kindergarten.
According to current knowledge, infection with the coronavirus is mild or even symptom-free for 80 percent of those infected. All previously known symptoms – cough, fever, shortness of breath – are treated every day in many ways in the German health system. However, the disease runs – that is the challenging part – in rare cases severe, sometimes with very, very severe courses, especially associated with one
Pneumonia, which may require treatment in intensive care and with ventilation capacities and equipment.
In international comparison, Germany has 28,000 intensive care beds with comparatively large capacities in relation to the population. Many of them are already under stress, of course, even now in normal operation, also due to the current flu epidemic, which, according to the current findings of the Robert Koch Institute, is abating.
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