Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach sees Germany again in a severe Corona wave and has urged the states to take countermeasures. "There can be no talk of a "Freedom Day" - quite the opposite," said the SPD politician in Berlin on Friday. In view of very high infection figures, he said, a situation had arisen in which it was not possible to simply wait until better weather eased the situation. "We cannot leave it as it is at the moment," Lauterbach warned.
The minister appealed to the states to now implement regulations under the amended Infection Protection Act, which are regionally possible for so-called hotspots in critical situations. An overload of the health care system to be determined for this purpose could be measured by concrete criteria, for example, if scheduled operations had to be postponed or patients transferred. Lauterbach reiterated that hotspots can also cover an entire federal state in this way. At a conference of health ministers this Monday, talks are to be held with the states to make this regulation feasible.
The Infection Protection Act amended by the traffic light coalition had met with widespread protest from the states. After a transition period until April 2, they can impose some more far-reaching restrictions with more mask requirements and access rules for regional hotspots if the state parliament determines a critical situation for them.
Lauterbach urged the previously unvaccinated to get at least an initial, already protective vaccination quickly now. With the current high infection rates, the unvaccinated must expect to become infected in the next few days. This also applies to those who say they have come through two years well.
The nationwide seven-day incidence continued to rise to a high of now 1756.4, up from 1752.0 new infections per 100,000 population in seven days the previous day, according to the Robert Koch Institute. Health departments reported 296,498 new cases in one day, with 288 additional deaths recorded within 24 hours.
Robert Koch Institute (RKI) President Lothar Wieler repeated his appeals for vaccination and considerate behavior in light of the numbers. "The pandemic is not over yet, on the contrary," Wieler said, referring to the increasing incidence of infection. "Every week, more than 1,000 people are currently dying in connection with omicron infection in our country." Within a week, about three percent of the population recently tested positive with Covid-19, with some counties reporting seven-day incidences of more than 3000, Wieler elaborated. Referring to the relaxation of infection control measures, he stressed that the issue now is "how we act."
Wieler explained that while vaccination cannot always prevent infection, in most cases it protects against becoming seriously ill. Worldwide data clearly show that vaccinated people generally have to go to hospital much less often and die much less frequently. This effect is particularly evident in older people who have received a booster vaccination. Accordingly, he urged people who had not yet been vaccinated to get immunized.
"How the next few weeks develop depends very much on how we all behave," Wieler said. Those who have symptoms should stay home for three to five days and avoid seeing anyone outside the home if possible, especially people with risk factors, he said. Wieler also continued to recommend the AHA rules - and especially stressed the importance of wearing masks indoors.
Looking at people who are particularly at risk, he said each and every individual can help protect them by following the measures. "We still can only manage this pandemic together, and we will manage it together."
Image by Fernando Zhiminaicela