Pandemic: Greater pressure on the countries for more corona protection requirements

Due to the increasing number of corona infections in many places, the pressure on the countries to tackle additional protective requirements with masks indoors is growing.

Pandemic: Greater pressure on the countries for more corona protection requirements

Due to the increasing number of corona infections in many places, the pressure on the countries to tackle additional protective requirements with masks indoors is growing. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Thursday on ARD: "The wave that is building up will not end on its own. You have to react." The SPD politician once again advised the federal states to now consider possibilities in the Infection Protection Act. The Marburger Bund medical association also called for countermeasures in a critical situation and pointed out that the burden in clinics was already high. This Friday, the federal government wants to present a new campaign to promote vaccinations.

Lauterbach made it clear that further requirements are at the discretion of the federal states. "We don't want to stir up panic, we don't want to patronize the countries either." But it must be pointed out: "At some point the countries will have to think about it, would it not be better to introduce the mask requirement." Of course, if they could agree on the best time, that would be great.

The situation: The rate of infection tends to increase. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the seven-day incidence on Thursday as 793.8 - after 799.9 reported new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days on the previous day and 462.4 a week ago. There are still significant regional differences - from 1573.3 in Saarland to 302.5 in Hamburg. According to RKI data, Bavaria (1016.6) and Hesse (1002.7) are also currently above the 1000 threshold.

Some hospitals are already at the overload limit again

However, experts assume that there are many unrecorded cases – mainly because many infected people no longer do a PCR test and are therefore not included in the statistics. Late registrations and transmission problems can lead to distortions of daily values. Lauterbach explained: “We have a sharp rise in the number of cases again, we have a high number of unreported cases.” Some hospitals are already at the overload limit again.

The containment: The head of the Marburger Bund medical association, Susanne Johna, told the newspapers of the Funke media group: “Wherever the incidences are now going through the roof, the states have to react with an FFP2 mask requirement in public transport and in publicly accessible indoor areas ." The Bremen epidemiologist Hajo Zeeb told the editorial network Germany: “We will need the recommendation or the obligation to wear masks again in a few weeks.” The virologist Hendrik Streeck warned on RTL “not to believe that a mask requirement is now a panacea, that we will be able to fight the number of infections better again”.

In the first countries, more stringent measures are already being considered. Berlin's considerations about introducing a mask requirement in public buildings became known. In Saarland, the government initially relied on appeals. The amended Infection Protection Act has made it possible for the federal states to wear masks in shops and restaurants in addition to local transport since October 1st. Tests can be ordered in schools and day-care centers. A nationwide FFP2 mask requirement applies in clinics, nursing homes, medical practices and long-distance trains. On airplanes it fell away.

The autumn strategy: Overall, Germany is "actually very well prepared," said Lauterbach. There are advanced vaccines that fit the current Omicron variant exactly. On Friday he wanted to "present a vaccination and corona campaign so that we will promote vaccination more, which is now necessary." The vaccinations have been languishing for months, and according to the RKI, 97,000 doses were injected nationwide on Wednesday. The focus is particularly on second vaccination boosters. According to the RKI, a good 28 percent of the risk group of over-60s have received a fourth injection.

According to official data, at least 63.5 million people or 76.3 percent of the population are now generally immunized with two injections. At least 51.8 million vaccinates, or 62.2 percent of the population, have received one or two "boosters." The strategy for autumn and winter also includes accelerated use of medication for infected people, as Lauterbach confirmed.

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