German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is planning to mobilize reservists to augment Germany’s military services as the authorities race to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by nearly 3,000 overnight to 13,957, a government agency in the country has confirmed.
There were also 11 more deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, bringing the total in Germany to 31.
“Everyone needs to be aware that this fight against the virus is a marathon,” Kramp-Karrenbauer announced to a sparsely attended press conference that was shown on public TV station Phoenix. “And at the end it will come down to different capabilities being made available, and that will especially be a task for the Bundeswehr.”
“In these difficult times, the citizens can rely on their Bundeswehr,” she added. The Bundeswehr has already been deployed on various missions to help deal with the current crisis: military planes have been used to fly home German citizens from China, and soldiers have helped set up quarantine facilities in Germany.
Germany has around 180,000 soldiers in its standing army, plus 120,000 military reservists, who are only deployed on a voluntary basis. Some 2,336 reservists have already responded to calls to help with medical duties, Kramp-Karrenbauer said, around 1,000 of whom are now ready for deployment. Some 28,000 ordered reservists are also ready to be deployed doing tasks that they have specifically been trained for.
The German constitution, or Basic Law, mandates that the Bundeswehr can only be deployed as a security force inside Germany when a state of emergency has been declared.
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