Patients were flown home from Brazil, South Africa, Cambodia and the French city of Marseille. Over a dozen of them were suspected to have Covid-19, which required the use of isolation pods to ensure a safe transport for the crew and patient.
One case was particularly difficult, when Rega repatriated a married couple from St Martin in the Caribbean. The two were in a hospital in the French part of the island and had to be transported across the border to the Dutch part. Only with support from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs were they able to transport the patients.
To transport Covid-19 cases, Rega uses its patient-isolation pods, which it developed with partners in 2015. Dr Roland Albrecht, who developed the pod, said: “The patient is put in a safety tent following a strict procedure. This reduces the risk of infection for the jet-crew.”
For the first time, during the repatriation in the Caribbean island of St Martin, Rega used two pods in one jet. However, some patients have to be transported without the pod, as there is only a certain amount of them.
“Especially with patients who need artificial ventilation, we can do without the pods, as the ventilation system already reduces the risk of infection”, said Albrecht.