Several injured in Germany as Storm Ciara halts trains

A tree blocks a road in the Taunus region in a strong storm near Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 10 February 2020

Several injured in Germany as Storm Ciara halts trains

  • Two women were badly hurt by a falling tree in Saarbruecken on the French border
  • Weather forecasters said winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour (105 miles per hour) had hit mountainous areas

FRANKFURT: Three people were seriously injured as Storm Ciara battered Germany on Sunday and Monday, lashing the country with high winds that forced the rail operator to suspend intercity trains.

Two women were badly hurt by a falling tree in Saarbruecken on the French border, with one of them receiving life-threatening injuries, police said overnight.

Further north in Paderborn, a 16-year-old boy was hit on the head by a falling branch.

Weather forecasters said winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour (105 miles per hour) had hit mountainous areas.

State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) shut down intercity trains on Sunday evening and warned there would be more disruption as the storm heads south.

“Several hundred” travelers slept overnight in trains set up for those stranded in stations, DB said.

Hundreds of flights were canceled at the largest airports, including 190 in Frankfurt and 420 in Munich, news agency DPA reported.

In the financial capital Frankfurt, police said a construction crane had struck the roof of the cathedral, but could not immediately detail the extent of the damage.

Storm Ciara mostly struck northern and western Germany as it swept Europe with powerful winds overnight between Sunday and Monday.

On Monday, the German Weather Service (DWD) declared the second-highest storm warning in effect across southern Germany, with parts of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg states even labelled with the highest.


Sanofi offers 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus fight

Updated 39 min 18 sec ago

Sanofi offers 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus fight

  • Proposals to put hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to use immediately for more patients have proven highly controversial

PARIS: French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said Friday it would offer 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, to governments worldwide if studies show it can safely to be used to treat COVID-19 patients.
Both hydroxychloroquine, which Sanofi sells under the brand name Plaquenil, and the related compound chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, are being studied worldwide as potential weapons in the coronavirus fight.
But proposals to put them to use immediately for more patients have proven highly controversial, with many experts warning there is not yet enough evidence of their safety or effectiveness against COVID-19.
A French doctor in particular, Didier Raoult, has raised hopes by treating patients with a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HQC) and the antibiotic azithromycin, an initiative that many health officials refuse to endorse in the absence of more rigorous studies.
On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron met Raoult and his team in Marseille to discuss their latest findings, though the president did not comment publicly on the meeting afterward.
Sanofi acknowledged that “interpretations of the available preliminary data on hydroxychloroquine in the management of COVID-19 differ widely.
“While hydroxychloroquine is generating a lot of hope for patients around the world, it should be remembered that there are no results from ongoing studies, and the results may be positive or negative.”
But chief executive Paul Hudson said in a statement, “If the trials prove positive, we hope our donation will play a critical role for patients.”
Other companies have also pledged to offer the drugs, with Switzerland’s Novartis proposing 130 million doses of chloroquine, and Israeli generic producer Teva promising 10 million doses of HQC for US hospitals.
Sanofi is also working on a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 94,000 people worldwide since cases were first reported in China last December.