German Economy Minister ‘breaks nose’ in fall from stage

Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier was treated in hospital Tuesday after falling from the stage at a public event, a spokeswoman said, adding that he was "doing well given the circumstances".

German Economy Minister 'breaks nose' in fall from stage
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier moments before his fall. Photo: DPA

Altmaier “tripped and fell as he left the stage,” the spokeswoman said. “He was treated by doctors on the scene and brought to hospital for tests.”

She said the close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel was speaking and had thanked the doctors and medics who treated him.

DPA reported that the 61-year-old veteran of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party had suffered a broken nose, bruises and light head wound.

TV footage showed Altmaier stepping down from the podium at the Digital Summit in Dortmund, western Germany, and then cut to the audience applauding, before they gasped at the sight of his fall.

North Rhine-Westphalia's premier Armin Laschet (CDU), who had given a speech before Altmaier, said: “We were all holding our breath. It's a good thing that a doctor and professor of medicine was with him immediately.”

A screen was set up to shield the first aid operation from view in the hall where Altmaier had just given a speech, while audience members were asked to leave.

A screen was set up to shield Altmaier. Photo: DPA

An AFP photographer then saw him being transported to hospital in an ambulance.

Politicians took to social media to wish Altmaier well.

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote on Twitter: “What a shock! Dear Peter Altmaier, I wish you a speedy recovery and that you can get back on  your feet quickly.”

Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrats, also wished him a quick recovery and added: “Hopefully we'll see you again in the cabinet very soon.”

According to cabinet rules, Scholz would represent Altmaier should he be absent for a longer period of time.

Chancellor Merkel's spokesman also wished Altmaier a speedy recovery on behalf of the federal government.


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Norway saw fewer hospital patients in 2020 despite pandemic

Fewer patients were treated in hospital in 2020 than in 2019, with Covid-19 being the reason for the drop, according to Statistics Norway.

Norway saw fewer hospital patients in 2020 despite pandemic
Illustration photo by Audun Braastad / AFP)

The decline in patients has been largest for those awaiting planned treatments, but the number of people requiring immediate attention also dropped too, according to Statistics Norway figures.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals had to prioritise differently in 2020 as a result of the increased need for intensive care units.

“2020 was a year marked by pandemics and restrictions. In many places hospitals have had to prioritise differently due to the coronavirus, and perhaps particularly as the result of the increased need for intensive care,” the report said.

This has contributed to a decrease in the number of patients in hospitals at all levels of care.

The number of patients with 24-hour stays decreased by 7 percent. The total number of days spent in hospital fell by 11 percent or 380,000 fewer days in a hospital bed in 2020 compared to 2019.

Hospital stays lasting at least 24 hours include both planned and unplanned visits. In 2020 planned visits accounted for 29 percent of all visits, which is a decrease of 16 percent from the previous year, while visits for immediate appointments decreased by 3 percent.

READ ALSO: Norwegian senior medic calls for geographical division of Covid-19 restrictions

The figures show a decline for almost all diagnostic groups, but cancer patients had a smaller decline than other groups.

Planned treatment of various forms of cancer decreased by 8 percent, but acute help for tumours saw an increase of 11 percent.

This reverses a trend of numbers of patients in hospitals increasing year on year. The increases had primarily been driven by patients at outpatient clinics.