France's COVID 'Ground Zero' is now its savior

When COVID-19 first hit France earlier this year parts of Strasbourg were so badly hit that it had to evacuate patients by helicopter.

But in the second wave, other regions are suffering and the city is returning the favor.

The role reversal has seen the same helicopters that in the spring were flying patients out of the area, now fetching patients with the virus from elsewhere and bringing them in for treatment.

Christophe Di Stefano is part of the helicopter crew.

"In a way, we're giving back in kind, because we relied on others during the first wave, so now, we have the resources to receive and treat people, and it's good for us to take part and take the burden off others because we witnessed the distress we were in during the first wave, so it's good to relieve the neighbouring regions."

A lack of social-distancing during early March caused a host of superspreading events in Strasbourg.

Intensive care units were overwhelmed. Patients were flown to other parts of France, as well as Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg.

It was a hard learned lesson for the doctors here. And they hope to put it to good use.

The region has just over 300 patients in intensive care, according to French public health data for this week.