By Tony Winterburn • 25 March 2020 • 19:00
OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT HAS ANNOUNCED THAT IS HAS ENLISTED THE HELP OF THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRANTS TO HELP SUPPORT HOSPITALS AND MEDICAL STAFF IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS
Because of this, the German government says it can double its number of intensive care beds, and even produce more ventilators.
In order to fill the gap of medical staff, the regional medical board in Saxony is advertising for migrant doctors to help tackle an expected rise in cases.
“Foreign doctors who are in Saxony but do not yet have a licence to practise medicine can help with corona(virus) care,” read a Facebook appeal. here
The push to tap migrant medics in Saxony comes despite the *AfD enjoying a surge in support in a regional election there last year, harnessing voter anger over refugees to come second behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
Merkel’s 2015 decision to open Germany’s borders to some one million migrants fleeing war in the Middle East – the defining moment of her chancellorship – was widely criticised by the AfD and even many of her own conservatives.
A new film, ‘Merkel – Anatomy of a Crisis’, also takes a critical look at her handling of the refugee influx.
But the coronavirus epidemic means medics of all backgrounds are in demand.
Saxony’s regional medical board reported on Monday that 300 volunteers had responded to its appeal for help, including “many foreign doctors whose licensing procedures are not yet completed, whose help is very welcome.”
As of Tuesday, there were 31,554 cases of coronavirus in Germany, with 149 deaths, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said. The government says Germany is still at the beginning of the epidemic.
Shadi Shahda, 29, is one migrant medic ready to help.
He came to Germany last April on a visa for highly-qualified job seekers and with three years’ experience as an ENT (ear, nose, throat) medical resident in Syria. But a language exam he needed to take this month to work as a doctor in Saxony was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
He jumped at the medical board’s Facebook post and says: “I am waiting for their call … I was very happy when I saw that I could do something in the country where I am living.”
*Alternative for Germany (German: Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) is a right-wing to far-right political party in Germany. … The party has been described as a German nationalist, right-wing populist, and Eurosceptic party.
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