Pandemic: new corona rules in force - criticism from patient advocates

FFP2 mask requirement on long-distance trains and long-distance buses, lifting of the rules on airplanes: The new Corona regulations came into force this Saturday.

Pandemic: new corona rules in force - criticism from patient advocates

FFP2 mask requirement on long-distance trains and long-distance buses, lifting of the rules on airplanes: The new Corona regulations came into force this Saturday. In the long-distance trains, a surgical mask was previously sufficient, an FFP2 mask was only recommended. According to a spokeswoman, a medical mask has also been sufficient for Flixbus so far. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) was satisfied with the new Infection Protection Act. At the same time, he warned of corona variants with which recently infected people could become infected again. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is already recording a significant increase in the number of infections.

In regional traffic, the federal states will now decide for themselves on protective measures. However, their health ministers had spoken out in favor of sticking to the applicable mask requirement on buses and trains. In airplanes, on the other hand, the mask is no longer required.

Nationwide, FFP2 masks must also be worn in clinics, nursing homes, medical practices and other healthcare facilities. A negative test is also required when entering care facilities and hospitals. Employees must be tested several times a week.

The federal and state governments had decided on the new regulations via a further change in the Infection Protection Act - otherwise the remaining corona rules would have expired in September. It also stipulates that the federal states can impose even stricter measures on their own, such as compulsory masks in shops and restaurants or tests in schools and daycare centers.

The federal states can also make further specifications, such as upper visitor limits for events, distance specifications in public spaces or masks outside if distances are not possible. However, the state parliament must first determine that there is a concrete risk to the health system or other important areas of care.

Brysch: The new regulations are not sufficient

From the point of view of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, the new regulations are not sufficient. Humane and efficient corona strategies were missing, said the foundation's board member, Eugen Brysch, on Saturday. Giving people in need of care an FFP2 mask outside the room is an inappropriate coercive measure. "So the already sharp increase in the number of infections in inpatient geriatric care cannot be stopped. There is a lack of external task forces that can provide immediate nursing support in the event of a chain infection."

Brysch criticized that there were no alternative quarters to separate infected and non-infected residents of nursing homes. Instead of quick tests three times a week, a PCR test regime is needed. "But the federal government and Karl Lauterbach show no initiative to enable those in need of care to lead a dignified life with the virus."

Lauterbach, on the other hand, was satisfied with the new specifications. "We decided on 95 percent of the measures I wanted," he told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper". He wanted to keep the mask requirement on airplanes, but did not give up the wish without consideration. "We now have a strict mask requirement in clinics in the clinics and doctor's offices. It's worth more because there are many more people in surgeries or waiting rooms than in airplanes."

Lauterbach said he could rule out a "killer variant" of the virus in the fall. The bad news is that there are now variants in which the immune escape is very pronounced.

RKI: incidence at 497.0

The RKI gave the nationwide seven-day incidence on Saturday morning at 497.0. The day before, the value of new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week was 466.0 (previous week: 308.9; previous month: 237.0). However, this information only provides a very incomplete picture of the number of infections. Experts have been assuming for some time that there will be a large number of cases not recorded by the RKI - mainly because by far not all infected people have a PCR test done.

In view of the increasing numbers, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) warned against lifting the isolation requirements for infected people. It is true that one is dealing with Omicron variants that do not make people so ill, Heil told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "Nevertheless, we have to be careful that not too many people get sick - also in the interest of the company." Lauterbach also emphasized on Friday that he wanted to stick to the isolation requirements. Some federal states had called for the end of the obligation to isolate people infected with the corona virus.

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