The legal basis for corona protection measures expires in September. The traffic light wants to make quick preparations for this. However, the Chancellor and the Minister of Justice rule out certain measures.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz does not believe that the drastic corona measures needed in the coming autumn and winter are as they were in previous years. “There shouldn’t be any more school closures, and I don’t think we need a lockdown like we’ve had in recent years,” said the SPD politician on Sunday in the ARD summer interview in the “Report from Berlin”.
In the meantime, the situation has “completely changed”, said Scholz, with a view to a vaccination rate of 76 percent (basic immunization) in Germany. Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) had previously made similar statements.
The number of infections has been increasing for some time, with the more contagious omicron subline BA.5 dominating the infection process. Experts believe that this is also possible for autumn and winter. A significant burden on the healthcare system and critical infrastructure is feared. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) recently warned of a significant deterioration in the situation. Calls for rapid legal preparations for an autumn wave were heard. In the spring, the corona regulations were severely reduced, and the nationwide legal basis expires on September 23.
From autumn, masks and tests will play a greater role again
Chancellor Scholz can imagine that testing and mask requirements will play a greater role again in autumn and winter. “It must be discussed whether the tests will be used again,” he said on ARD. And on the obligation to wear a mask, which mainly still exists on public transport and in facilities with risk groups such as clinics and nursing homes, he said: “I think that one has to assume that the mask will play a bigger role in autumn and winter than now.” At the same time, Scholz called on people over the age of 60 to get a fourth vaccination against Corona.
Minister of Justice Buschmann made a similar statement to Scholz in the newspapers of the editorial network Germany (RND) about wearing a mask. But he didn’t give any details either. With a view to the report presented on Friday by a committee of experts on the effectiveness of previous protective measures, the FDP politician said: “Our duty to ensure a reasonable legal basis and to use the knowledge available, as well as respect for this evaluation body, require that we evaluate this report now. Then we’ll see.” In his estimation, the federal government will probably present a concept for preparing for the Corona autumn in July.
Almost half of the people in Germany recently spoke out in a survey for immediate stricter rules. In a survey by the opinion research institute Civey on behalf of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”, 49 percent answered in the affirmative whether the current corona measures should be tightened immediately. 43 percent were against, 8 percent undecided.
Appraisal is now available
The opinion of the expert committee had been long awaited. Accordingly, protective measures such as wearing a mask can continue to be helpful against the corona virus. But behind many other known conditions, the experts put question marks, due to a lack of sufficient data, no reliable assessments are possible.
The German Foundation for Patient Protection warned against neglecting vulnerable groups. Board member Eugen Brysch told the dpa that the protection of the elderly, those in need of care and the seriously ill people is being neglected in the “tug-of-war” about measures. However, the increasing outbreaks in the approximately 12,000 nursing homes required a uniform and efficient approach. Among other things, Brysch called for the PCR test capacities to be concentrated on those in need of care, relatives and medical and nursing staff. He asked the Department of Health to offer a free immune status check to anyone in need of care. The Robert Koch Institute should make vaccination recommendations that take the immune status into account. Finally, in the case of chain infections, nursing homes required external mobile teams to support care. In the current weekly report, the RKI had stated that, in addition to an overall increase in infection rates, there were also more corona outbreaks in old people’s and nursing homes.
The cost of corona vaccines amounted to around 6.8 billion euros by the beginning of June. As the RND reported, citing information from the Federal Social Security Office, from the beginning of the pandemic to the end of June, 46.4 billion euros were also paid for vaccinations, vaccination centers, citizen and PCR tests, protective masks, compensation payments for hospitals and corona drugs on. Added together, this results in a total of 53.2 billion euros.