Scholz, Lauterbach and Co.: After the Corona summit, there was criticism

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From: Cindy Boden

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) comes to the press conference after the federal-state summit in the Chancellery. © Hannibal Hanschke/dpa

Too little clarity, too much carelessness? A lot of criticism follows the decisions of the Corona summit on Monday – especially in view of the new PCR test regulations.

Berlin – Chancellor Olaf Scholz* (SPD) was satisfied on Monday (January 24) after the Corona summit: “It is the right reaction to the changed situation,” he said at the press conference. New vaccination campaign, adjusted rules for PCR tests, possible “opening prospects” if overloads can be ruled out – but first of all no easing, no tightening: This is what the majority of the new decisions look like.

But the criticism of the meeting and the content was not long in coming. Above all, there are complaints about the planned restrictions on access to PCR tests. The prioritization of the PCR tests that has now been decided means that from this point in time the government has “no idea” “how high the number of infections really is,” said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) on Monday evening in the ARD “Tagesthemen” – mind you, he himself was present at the previous meeting.

Corona summit on the test strategy: “No breakthrough to effectively combat the pandemic”

But the wording of the resolution also shows that there is dissatisfaction with the topic: “The federal states take note of the decision of the Conference of Health Ministers that the limited availability of PCR tests should be concentrated on vulnerable groups and employees who care for and treat them,” says it about. The crucial words, because of which Söder can attack immediately afterwards: “take note”. So no “greeting”. A “changed test regime” is to be developed in the near future. Details will follow.

Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU *) meanwhile insists on PCR test options for all citizens, despite the bottlenecks. “All citizens must have the opportunity to get certainty through a PCR test if they suspect corona or are infected, but also after they have survived the corona infection,” he demanded in the newspapers of the Funke media group.

For Dietmar Bartsch, the head of the left parliamentary group, the new test strategy is “not a breakthrough in effectively combating the pandemic, but a single communication chaos”, as he puts it Funke newspapers said.

Corona: PCR tests are the main topic between the federal and state governments – warn laboratories

According to the federal-state group, “every effort should now be made to increase the PCR test capacities”. But there are already warnings from the laboratories: “We cannot expand the capacities at will from one day to the next,” said the chairman of the Association of Accredited Laboratories in Medicine (ALM), Michael Müller, to the newspapers of the Editorial Network Germany (RND). Such a step requires “timely” discussions and a “clear statement” about the actual needs, he said. The laboratories had already created additional capacities for 500,000 PCR tests “on their own responsibility” since October.

“If politicians demand more PCR test capacities, they must also create the framework conditions for this and ensure financial security in the event that these are not needed,” demanded the head of the association. The chairman of the professional association of German laboratory doctors, Andreas Bobrowski, said world, the lack of laboratory staff cannot be remedied for the time being.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (centre), Hendrik Wüst (left) and Franziska Giffey at the Corona press conference on January 24th.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (centre), Hendrik Wüst (left) and Franziska Giffey at the Corona press conference on January 24th. © Hannibal Hanschke/AFP

Corona summit: Scholz, Lauterbach and Co. criticized: “Germany’s largest nursing service was forgotten”

Criticism also came from the chairman of the Patient Protection Foundation, Eugen Brysch. “It’s good that vulnerable people are now prioritized for PCR testing,” Brysch said RND. “But the largest nursing service in Germany was forgotten. Five million loved ones now do not have access to lab tests.”

An infection that is not detected or detected too late makes life at home a high-risk area. Brysch explained: “Three million people in need of care need the daily support of their relatives. So it is vital to recognize whether an infection is present here.” The Federal Minister of Health was asked to prioritize these contact persons in the test regulation.

And the teachers’ representatives also feel unlawfully ignored. “It is of course a blatant contradiction when politicians affirm in unison that keeping schools open has top priority *, but, as so often before, ducks away when it comes to specifically prioritizing students and teachers in health protection measures,” said in turn the head of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, dem RND.

Video: The federal and state governments are sticking to the previous corona restrictions

PCR test chaos in Germany: are there alternatives?

So how could Germany escape the PCR test chaos? The health policy spokesman for the Greens* in the Bundestag, Janosch Dahmen, has already suggested evaluating PCR tests in the pool process in the future. Germany is lagging behind other countries because of its strategy of individual evaluation, he said world. In the pool procedure, several samples are tested at the same time. If the result is positive, all tests are evaluated again individually. That ties up less capacity.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach* (SPD*) reacted soberingly in the ARD: “This procedure was not prepared a year ago, so we cannot fall back on it now.”

The Association of German Cities suggested using so-called POC-PCR tests to expand PCR capacities, which do not require a laboratory and are intended to deliver fast results. “But then the funding for these tests would have to be improved,” said City Day President Markus Lewe of the German Press Agency.

Corona summit on the situation in Germany – protocol statements show disagreement and need for discussion

Even if Scholz spoke of a “very good conference” overall, in addition to all the criticism, the minutes also show that there is not consensus everywhere. There are comments from Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Thuringia, Bavaria, Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia – sometimes in groups – on various topics. Hesse and Baden-Württemberg, for example, advocate the rapid establishment of a central vaccination register. There is still a lot to be clarified before the planned next conference on February 16th. The Minister of Health may also do some work-up, because Lauterbach was caught in the crossfire * at the summit. (cibo/AFP/dpa) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

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