In view of the renewed increase in corona numbers in Germany, criticism of the planned easing is increasing. The news ticker.
- The corona numbers in Germany continue to rise: the RKI reports a new incidence record. (see first report)
- The Bundestag will advise on the planned easing on Wednesday. (see first report)
- The partial vaccination for employees in nursing professions has been in force since today. (see update from March 16, 8.40 a.m.)
- This news ticker on the corona pandemic in Germany is updated regularly.
Update from March 16, 7:04 p.m .: The federal government is already paving the way for the procurement of corona vaccines by 2029 and is thus preparing for a pandemic that may last for years. It is planned to conclude contracts worth billions with five companies to provide corona vaccines by 2029. If the Covid 19 pandemic persists, access to the production capacities of the companies can be guaranteed, the Ministries for Economic Affairs and Health announced.
According to the information, the companies involved should be paid an annual “standby fee” so that production capacities are kept available and vaccine production can be ramped up promptly. The federal government calculates costs of up to 2.86 billion euros for the years 2022 to 2029. The companies are said to be Biontech, Celonic and IDT. There are also two bidding consortiums from the companies Curevac and GSK as well as from Wacker and CordenPharma.
Home office should also be possible after March 19th
Update from March 16, 5:05 p.m .: After the previous corona measures expired on March 19, employers should in future be able to decide for themselves which basic protective measures should apply in the company. In addition to masks and distance, this can also continue to include working from home.
Corona protective measures are no longer prescribed in the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance, but operational hygiene concepts are to be developed. In the future, companies will have to check for themselves whether employees are still being offered a free corona test every week, whether working from home is possible and necessary and whether they are making masks available. The local infection process must be taken into account when making decisions.
Corona in Germany. WHO was waiting for protective measures to end too early
Update from March 16, 4:43 p.m .: In view of the increasing number of corona worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that protective measures will end too early. This includes wearing masks and keeping your distance. If the measures were lifted, the virus would have more opportunities to circulate, said Maria von Kerkhove, WHO Covid-19 specialist, in Geneva on Wednesday. The problem is that significantly fewer tests are now being carried out worldwide. This makes it more difficult to monitor the spread of variants.
The WHO never comments on the corona management of individual countries. She only calls on governments to constantly analyze the situation in their country and to take measures that are appropriate to the danger.
Van Kerkhove warned against false assumptions: that the pandemic is over or that the omicron variant is harmless. Older, sick and unvaccinated people in particular are still at risk of developing serious illness from Covid-19 if they become infected. However, the tools to contain the virus are available: this includes measures such as wearing masks and keeping your distance, as well as vaccinations.
Worldwide, the number of weekly reported corona infections in the second week of March rose again for the first time since the end of January. The WHO reported eight percent more infections than in the previous week, a total of eleven million, and 43,000 deaths from Covid-19.
Update from March 16, 11:18 a.m .: Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil has renewed his criticism of the federal government’s corona relaxation plan. “The pandemic is demonstrably not over and it will not be over by the beginning of April either. That’s why we still need the previous set of tools after the transition period,” said the SPD politician on Wednesday. The planned hotspot regulation is not sufficient in view of the increasing number of infections and patients.
“It is impractical that the state government and state parliament should set specific measures for individual districts or independent cities,” said Weil. The state government must also be able to determine the conditions for the risk of a dynamic infection situation nationwide. In the form envisaged by the federal government, it is a “hotspot regulation prevention regulation”. So far, Lower Saxony has done well during the pandemic by taking preventive measures at an early stage whenever this seemed necessary. “We have to stick to that,” emphasized Weil.
A spokesman for the State Chancellery added that it was still unclear whether Lower Saxony would reject the federal draft in the Bundesrat. Coordinations are currently being held with other country heads, and there is good hope that changes can still be achieved. “We are simply sending a strong signal that the previous considerations in Berlin are not enough for us,” said the spokesman.
North Rhine pharmacists’ association criticizes traffic light government – warning of the same error “as in October”
Update from March 16, 10:16 a.m .: The North Rhine Pharmacists’ Association has asked the federal government to hold on to the free citizen tests beyond March 31. “With the advance of the BA.2 omicron variant, the rate of positive tests is continuously increasing. It would be irresponsible to make the same mistake now as in October and make the citizen tests subject to a fee,” said association head Thomas Preis of the Rheinische Post (Wednesday edition).
He referred to the high demand: “The test numbers are about twice as high as in November, when we were struggling with the Delta variant. We currently have an unprecedented positive rate of over ten percent in the citizen tests.” For comparison: “In November, only about five percent of the citizen tests were positive. And last summer only about two percent.” The previous regulation expires at the end of the month, the federal government is working on a new test regulation.
“Many use their positive citizen test to go into isolation without visiting a doctor. In this way, citizens are making an effective contribution to preventing further infections,” said Preis. He demanded: “The pharmacies finally need planning security for their test operations. The federal and state governments must finally give their commitment as to whether testing will continue beyond March 31st. Otherwise, sufficient rooms, staff and tests could no longer be provided quickly enough.”
On Wednesday, the Bundestag will also deal with the traffic light coalition’s draft for an amended Infection Protection Act for the first time (1 p.m.). The law is intended to create a legal basis for measures to combat the corona pandemic when most of the previous rules expire on Sunday.
Corona in Germany: Facility-related vaccinations apply from today
Update from March 16, 8.40 a.m .: The so-called facility-related vaccination requirement has been in effect since Wednesday (March 16) for employees in the nursing profession. They had until Tuesday to submit proof of vaccination or recovery – or a certificate that they cannot be vaccinated. Unvaccinated workers in the health sector could now face consequences. The authorities may impose fines, activity and entry bans.
However, the implementation of the partial vaccination requirement is handled differently in the federal states. In some parts of Germany, the health authorities should check carefully whether people in homes and hospitals can still be cared for if unvaccinated employees are banned from entering. Furthermore, a lower level of corona occupational safety is to apply in the future. To this end, the cabinet wanted to adopt a regulation from the Ministry of Social Affairs on Wednesday. According to this, employers should be able to largely determine for themselves how they assess the risk and which requirements should still apply in the company. On Thursday, applications for general compulsory vaccination should also be discussed in the Bundestag for the first time.
Corona in Germany: Incidence back to record level
First report: Berlin – the number of infections with the corona virus * in Germany continues to rise. On Wednesday (March 16) from 1 p.m., the Bundestag will deal with the traffic light coalition’s plans for future corona measures. From March 20, a draft drawn up by the federal government provides for only a few general protective rules with mask and test requirements in facilities for groups at risk.
However, more extensive restrictions should be possible for regional “hotspots”. In view of the increasing number of infections, there are calls for more general protection rules. Doctors and patient advocates in particular have criticized the current plans.
The draft is to be decided on this Friday. On Thursday, the prime ministers want to discuss the situation with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). Most federal states want to continue to apply most of the conditions – initially until the end of a transitional period on April 2nd. This is also due to the fact that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)* recently reported daily highs again.
So also this Wednesday. At 1607.1, the nationwide seven-day incidence* is at a new all-time high. For comparison: the day before the value was 1585.4. A week ago, the nationwide incidence was 1319.0 (previous month: 1401.0). The health authorities in Germany reported a total of 262,593 new corona infections* to the RKI within one day.
Planned relaxation of the corona virus: criticism from patient advocates and doctors
Massive easing despite daily record values? That doesn’t sit well with some experts. The head of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, accused the traffic light coalition of a “political oath of disclosure”. Against their better knowledge, MPs from the SPD and Greens wanted to agree to an amendment to the law that offered little protection against the pandemic *, he told the dpa. “The smallest coalition partner must not simply dictate vital decisions. Otherwise the tail will wag the dog,” he criticized with a view to the FDP, which had primarily pushed for the easing.
Criticism of the government draft also came from doctors. The President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, criticized the fact that only examples are given of when the federal states can adopt stricter measures. This will “inevitably lead to a nationwide patchwork of different regional regulations. This unnecessarily unsettles the population,” complained Reinhardt in the Rheinische Post .
Corona loosening in Germany: Experts call for masks to be maintained
The chairman of the German Hospital Society, Gerald Gass, told the newspapers of the Funke media group : “The planned hotspot regulation can be an effective and targeted instrument. However, there must be clarity and plannability for this regulation, also which criteria the legislator presents here. As examples he named local public transport, retail or places with vulnerable groups.
The head of the Marburger Bund doctors’ union, Susanne Johna, also called for masks to continue to be prescribed in retail and indoor areas. “Particularly in view of the increasing incidences, it would be reasonable to maintain this effective measure until the infection process actually weakens due to the seasonal effect that occurs,” she told the Augsburger Allgemeine . (ph with dpa) *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA
List of rubrics: © Karl-Josef Hildenbrand