Fight against coronavirus: how the armed forces and churches are helping

The Bundeswehr now also wants to intervene more intensively in the fight against the corona virus. Reservists are to be used in Bundeswehr hospitals. The churches face a very special challenge.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has promised to help the Bundeswehr in the fight against the new type of corona virus. "We plan at all levels in such a way that we can safely cover all critical areas – including what administrative assistance is in store for us," said Kramp-Karrenbauer of "Welt am Sonntag".

Reservists for Bundeswehr hospitals

The Bundeswehr has just called on its reservists to report to help in the Bundeswehr hospitals. The Bundeswehr is already providing administrative assistance to the Federal Ministry of Health with its procurement office, said Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Bundeswehr procures medical material

By Friday, the office had already signed contracts worth 163 million euros after the Federal Ministry of Health asked for administrative assistance. In a first step, the Bundeswehr Procurement Office procured 300,000 protective masks and goggles in a "difficult material situation," said a spokesman for the Defense Ministry. A part should be withheld for the needs of the federal government – for example the emergency services of the federal police.

10,000 ventilators ordered

The medical technology manufacturer Dragerwerk received an order for 10,000 ventilators from the federal government. The company in Lubeck announced that the order would be processed throughout the year. Drager also supplies personal protective equipment for hospital staff.

A challenge for the police too

The corona pandemic is also becoming an endurance test for the police in Germany. The President of the Federal Police, Dieter Romann, told the "Welt am Sonntag" that in addition to the employees in the health system, the police in the federal states and the Federal Police are "in the forefront", for example at the increased border controls or at train stations and airports.

"This crisis is not only one of the health system, but also one of security and order," said Romann. The functionality of the health system as well as the police forces of the federal states and the federal states must be guaranteed, he stressed.

Infections with the novel corona virus in the ranks of the police could quickly have significant consequences because the officers often have contact with many citizens and other police officers. In case of doubt, these would then have to be quarantined.

Police relieved by event cancellations

"So far there are no noticeable restrictions in the efficiency of the police," said the Federal Ministry of the Interior. It is true that the federal police are stressed by the increased border protection. By canceling major events that are normally accompanied by the police, capacities would also be freed up on the other hand.

Churches face a particular challenge

The churches face a very special challenge. On the one hand, it concerns the recommendation to avoid crowds, especially because of the old age of many churchgoers. On the other hand, especially in times of crisis, the church wants to give consolation and be the point of contact for people.

As a result, several Protestant regional churches and Catholic dioceses had already canceled their services on Friday. The ZDF television service broadcast live on Sunday took place without an audience: in the Protestant St. Ansgar Church in Oldenburg, only the performers and the choir celebrated, whose singers were seated in the pews at a suitable distance.

Services canceled

The services were canceled in the North Church, in the Protestant churches in Lower Saxony, Bremen and Wurttemberg as well as in the Archdiocese of Hamburg and Munich and the Dioceses of Limburg, Fulda, Mainz and Speyer. In Berlin, the services in the Protestant Cathedral and in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church were canceled. Many churches remained open for prayer, for example the Cologne Cathedral.

In order to still fulfill their pastoral duties, some regional churches and dioceses offered online services.

At the moment it is completely unclear whether Easter – after all the most important Christian celebration – can take place in the churches.

The Vatican has already announced that Pope Francis’ Easter services, which are usually attended by tens of thousands of people, will take place without visitors this year.