Germany's military will send medical staff and equipment to Portugal, where space in hospital intensive care units is running out after a surge in coronavirus infections, the defence ministry in Berlin said on Sunday.
Portugal, which said on Saturday that only seven of 850 ICU beds set up for COVID-19 cases on its mainland were vacant, had asked the German government for help.
"We will support Portugal with medical staff and equipment," a defence ministry spokesman told Reuters, adding that details were expected to be announced early this week.
Portugal, which has reported 12,179 COVID-19 deaths and 711,018 cases, has the world's highest seven-day rolling average of cases and deaths per capita, according to data tracker http://www.ourworldindata.org
German magazine Spiegel said the military planned to send 27 doctors and paramedics to Portugal who were initially supposed to remain there for three weeks, as well as stationary and mobile ventilators and field beds for patients.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Responding to that report, the defence ministry spokesman said he could not immediately provide any details.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.