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Pandemic: Health ministers advise measures for corona autumn wave

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Corona rapid tests free for everyone – that should soon be over in Germany. But what are the federal and state governments planning for protective measures during the pandemic?

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The federal and state health ministers want to make preparations for a more critical corona situation in autumn and winter.

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A heavy wave must be expected, said Federal Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Thursday in Magdeburg after a two-day conference. At a special meeting of the heads of departments at the beginning of July, specific protective measures will be discussed in the fall. It is currently still unclear how the free citizen tests will continue after June 30th. The further financing of the tests is also open. The federal states see the federal government as having an obligation here. An overview of what the conference of health ministers found:

Restriction of citizen tests: The health ministers have not yet presented a finished concept on the controversial issue of continuing to offer free citizen tests. The federally funded tests will initially only be available until the end of June. Lauterbach said a package should be presented, which he is still negotiating with Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP). He was sure that a solution could be presented in the next few days.

Until the end of June, everyone without a reason or symptoms is still entitled to at least one quick test per week at test sites by trained personnel. Lauterbach wants to move away from that. He emphasized that he still considers citizen tests to be “absolutely necessary”. However, it is no longer necessary to take every citizen test. According to Lauterbach’s idea, people with symptoms should in future be eligible for free tests, as well as other selected groups such as small children and pregnant women.

Test before events

Tests should also be offered to visitors to events where the risk of infection is particularly high. Size is not the only criterion, said Lauterbach. “Those who go to these events, especially indoors, then have the opportunity to get tested.” This could be useful if you have had contact with an infected person and want to prevent the virus from being passed on. Details are still open.

It is fatal that the health ministers have not yet been able to agree on a common strategy, said the board member of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch. Those in need of care living at home, the chronically ill and their relatives would be left in the dark by the federal and state governments.

Unresolved financing issues: Lauterbach referred to a requirement of the budget committee of the Bundestag that the federal states should participate in the financing of the citizen tests. However, the chair of the state department heads, Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD) from Saxony-Anhalt, made it clear that the states saw no leeway for this. Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) made it clear that the states would already pay for tests in daycare centers and schools. “So it’s not like the countries haven’t gotten involved in the topic so far,” says Holetschek. The federal government should continue to pay for the tests.

New vaccination campaign in autumn

Fourth vaccination: There will be a new vaccination campaign in autumn. He is in exchange with the vaccine manufacturers, said Lauterbach. In current studies, there are increasing indications that a fourth vaccination for people aged 60 and over is of great benefit. He is sure that a very good, scientifically based vaccination recommendation can be made in the fall. The best vaccine should be made available to everyone who wants to be vaccinated.

Further protective measures: Before the conference, several countries had called for the legal requirements for stricter protective measures to be created quickly in autumn. On Thursday, Lauterbach made it clear that he considered it necessary to wear masks indoors in the fall. He does not want to speculate about the content of the planned new Infection Protection Act. But what is currently valid will not be enough for autumn and winter. He did not want to comment on other possible measures.

The current corona regulations in the Infection Protection Act expire on September 23. Grimm-Benne announced a special meeting of health ministers for July 1st. The report of a committee of experts to assess previous pandemic measures is also to be presented on this day. The health policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Andrew Ullmann, explained that it was the right signal that the federal states would also wait for the evaluation of the Advisory Council.

Lauterbach emphasized that the federal and state governments had agreed on “working together” when discussing the necessary further protection rules. “The schools would be the very last thing we close. And I personally don’t think that will be necessary.”

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Source: Stern

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