Germany: Federal Government and States to Discuss Corona Situation

At the chancellery in Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to welcome Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey and the Governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst, again today, for the next Corona conference. The other First Ministers will take part via video feeds. Big changes are not expected, meaning the Corona rules are supposed to remain in place.

Berlin, January 24th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute reported 63,393 new Corona infections today. Last Monday, there hard been 34,145. The country’s Seven Day Incidence just rose to its next all-time high. It now stands at 840.3. Experts are blaming the ongoing Omicron wave. The number of Corona patients in intensive care rose slightly. According to the ‘DIVI Intensivregister’, it is 2,426.

Dissenting Opinion

Since the overall Corona situation is not improving, but rather deteriorating, Chancellor Olaf Scholz does not want to ease the Corona regulations which include contact restrictions. According to those, up to 10 persons may gather as long as they are vaccinated. Unvaccinated persons can hardly go anywhere, meaning they are not allowed to enter cultural venues, restaurants and most shops. This is not supposed to change. Scholz, his Corona Expert Council and most federal states firmly believe the time for dumping restrictions has not come.

One First Minister, Bavaria’s Markus Söder, shared a dissenting opinion. As long as Angela Merkel was Chancellor, he was one of the most careful participants of those Corona conferences. Now that his conservative friends of the CDU are in the opposition, he suddenly wants opening steps and announced some for his state, in spite of the fact that most experts disagree. Söder stated he would ease the rules for sports and cultural events. But most conservative Governors, including Hendrik Wüst, agree with Scholz.

Draft Proposal

There are more things to talk about. The Corona conference will probably prepare for both a deterioration and an improvement of the Corona situation. Last week, the Expert Council had come to the conclusion that tighter Corona rules needed to be prepared, in case the Corona infection numbers increase a lot more. Those emergency measures have to be ready to be put in place at a moment’s notice, the Council’s members believe.

On the other hand, the government wants to give Germany a perspective, which is why it intends to be ready for the opposite situation. According to a draft proposal several German-language media re quoting from, the Corona restrictions are supposed to be eased as soon as an overburdening of Germany’s critical infrastructure because of the Omicron wave can be ruled out.

PCR Test Prioritization

There will be at least one minor change though. Germany does not have enough PCR test kits to cover the big demand. For that reason, their use is supposed to be limited. A prioritization will be discussed today. The remaining PCR tests will likely be reserved for vulnerable population groups and those who are helping them. This means, hospital patients, elderly people, nurses, other caretakers and doctors will have the highest priority, while everyone else will have to use antigen tests. Individuals who got positive results are supposed to confirm those by taking a second antigen test. This is the approach Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and his colleagues from the federal states want to take.

Looking for the daily Corona update for Germany? Find it here.
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2022 (from Dec. 22nd, 2021)
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2021
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2020

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