Pandemic: RKI protocols for Corona crisis consultations published

Pandemic: RKI protocols for Corona crisis consultations published

The government measures to contain the corona pandemic were sometimes highly controversial. Minutes of discussions in the crisis team of a central health authority are now being made public.

The Federal Ministry of Health countered suspicions about external influence on a higher risk assessment by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on the Corona situation in March 2020. “The RKI is absolutely independent in its professional assessments of diseases,” said a spokeswoman in Berlin in response to a report by the online magazine “Multipolar,” which published partly redacted protocols from the RKI crisis team from January 2020 to April 2021.

A protocol from March 16, 2020 states: “It should be scaled up this week. The risk assessment will be published as soon as (passage redacted) there is a signal for this.” The ministry spokeswoman made it clear that “an internal RKI employee” was behind the redaction. The institute also made the new risk assessment public in a press conference the following day.

The ministry explained that the RKI had carried out a technical assessment of the situation, which should be seen in the context of the time. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic five days earlier, on March 11, 2020. In Bergamo, Italy, 4,500 people died of Covid-19 in February/March, and several countries had also imposed entry bans shortly beforehand.

Blacking out names is common in such contexts because employees also have to be protected, said the ministry spokeswoman. According to its own statements, “Multipolar” enforced the release of the published minutes through legal action as a result of a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The portal, which has made it its mission to present different perspectives on social and political issues, is considered by critics to be close to conspiracy narrative publications.

Kubicki demands full transparency

The deputy FDP chairman Wolfgang Kubicki demanded full transparency from Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD). “I therefore call on Karl Lauterbach to publish all the minutes of the RKI crisis team without redactions,” said the FDP politician to the German Press Agency in Berlin.

“Sooner or later he will be forced to do this anyway, either judicially or politically. In any case, as a parliamentarian I will work to ensure that all the basis for the decision at this time becomes public,” emphasized Kubicki. He directed serious accusations at the RKI and also at the former Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). “It is becoming increasingly clear that the Robert Koch Institute for Health Policy served as a scientific facade for Jens Spahn and probably also Karl Lauterbach.”

Wagenknecht calls for a committee of inquiry

The left-wing alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW) also called for comprehensive clarification. “A commission of inquiry is not enough. A committee of inquiry is necessary to shed light on the period with the greatest restrictions on fundamental rights in the history of the Federal Republic,” said Wagenknecht to the dpa. The population has a right to come to terms with it. “In particular, the closing of daycare centers and schools as well as the exclusion of unvaccinated people must be examined, also in order to draw conclusions for future pandemics.”

The Robert Koch Institute was responsible for risk assessment at the time. The countermeasures such as lockdowns, contact bans and curfews, which were intended to help get the spread of the virus under control, were based on his assessment.

The documents showed “that the Corona measures were not based on scientific facts, but were politically planned,” explained the health policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group, Martin Sichert. He appealed to the other parliamentary groups: “Look at the minutes of the RKI crisis team and set up a Corona investigation committee with us. The public has a right to know what really happened back then.”

Source: Stern

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