Limits to military coronavirus aid in sight: report
The Ministry of Defense is increasingly supplying supportive military medical employees and equipment to healthcare institutions in the Netherlands to help fight against the coronavirus outbreak, but the limits of that capacity are in sight, Lieutenant Colonel Sjaak van Elten, spokesperson for Defense, said to newspaper NU.nl.
Dutch healthcare institutions who need help can submit a request for assistance at the national operational coordination center LOCC in Driebergen through its safety region. If this request cannot be solved with civil parties, Defense comes into the picture. "When prioritizing the deployment of Defense medical capacity, it is important that you look at where we are most needed," Van Elten said. "You see that we are moving through the Netherlands, as it were, with the wave of the pandemic. First that was only in the south, but now increasingly in the center of the country.
Currently 180 nurses and 35 doctors from the Dutch military are working in hospitals throughout the Netherlands. According to Van Elten, Defense employs about 250 military nurses. But the armed forces also need its medical personnel itself. For example, the Netherlands is participating in NATO's Resolution Support mission in northern Afghanistan, where 160 Dutch soldiers, including medical personnel, are active.
Defense is also offering support in the Caribbean. On Monday, another C-17 transport aircraft landed in Sint Maarten with a mobile hospital with six intensive care beds on board. The Ministry assumes more such needs will surface. "We also have a limit," Van Elten said to the newspaper. He cannot predict when Defense will no longer be able to meet the demand for medical support, but did say that the limits are in sight.
In addition to the military personnel, Defense also supplied 65 respirators to hospitals and support for coordinating tasks at the National Corona Care Coordination Center.