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Potsdam, Germany (CNN) Germany was seen as a beacon for other European countries during the first coronavirus wave and hailed for one of the world's best health care systems.
Coronavirus infection numbers hit an all-time record Friday, with nearly 24,000 new daily cases recorded -- and so did the number of patients in the country's intensive care units.
This in in part due to its high intensive care capacity with 33.9 beds per 100,000 inhabitants; in contrast, Italy has just 8.6.
"The number of severe cases in intensive patients is still rising.
And doing this you get the capacity and get the nurses and the physicians to help the ICU physicians and ICU nurses on their wards.''
After taking into account non-Covid patients, 22,066 intensive care beds in the country were occupied as of November 20, while 6,107 remained vacant.
Germany has a reserve of about 12,000 ICU beds, including field hospital beds at Berlin's convention center.
Until now, Germany has been taking in Covid patients from neighboring countries whose health care systems are overwhelmed.
Her hospital established a system in the spring whereby Benelux countries -- Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg -- could put in a request for ICU beds, a scheme which is ongoing.
At the end of October, Saarland offered France eight beds; three patients have been transferred to date.
Nurses tend to patients in the coronavirus intensive care unit of the University Hospital Dresden, November 13, 2020.
Not only here in the Berlin/Potsdam region, in which we have a heavy burden of intensive care patients, but nationwide the numbers are climbing and they're still climbing, they are not coming down at the moment."

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