How much does the nationwide corona test strategy bring and what is the need for PCR tests? These questions again seem unclear. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has been criticized.
Munich – The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported more than 200,000 new infections in Germany on Thursday. For the laboratories, the increase due to the Omicron variant means an unprecedented test load – and for the public longer and longer waiting times for results. The RKI already gave a value of around 2 million PCR tests carried out for the week before last – with a total capacity of 2.8 million. The situation is likely to have worsened since then.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach therefore wants to set priorities. The state should therefore provide a free test in significantly fewer cases than before. The SPD politician wants to develop a new concept for this – in consultation with the health ministers of the federal states.
PCR tests should be fewer – but many questions are still unanswered
At the most recent conference of health ministers, the latter were already open to concentrating the PCR tests, which are only available to a limited extent, “on vulnerable groups and employees who care for and treat them”. In addition, it should be checked whether a confirmatory PCR test can be dispensed with after a positive antigen test without symptoms and whether a second rapid test is sufficient instead, the ministers believe. Rapid tests could also be sufficient if the Corona app works, or to test yourself out of quarantine – as long as they are not people who work in hospitals, nursing homes or in critical infrastructure facilities.
However, Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) does not seem really happy with the upcoming revision of the national test strategy. It was “born out of necessity in individual federal states,” he tells our newspaper. It still depends on the concrete design by the federal government. All tests have always been subject to availability and there have always been prioritizations in the federal test strategy – for example in autumn 2020 on people with symptoms. However, many questions remain unanswered when it comes to implementation. “For example, where a confirming second rapid test should be carried out, how the result is reported to the health department in digital form if possible and who issues the proof of recovery.”
Corona policy: Lauterbach should “think through the consequences and effects to the end”
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had already warned in the most recent round of federal and state governments that the prioritization should not lead to a blind flight in which the incidence figures would lose their meaningfulness. Holetschek sees the Federal Health Minister Lauterbach as responsible here. “Anyone who makes laws must also think through the consequences and effects to the end,” he says. “In the end, the transfer from science to the talk show must also succeed in concrete political implementation.” The federal government must also take into account the laboratory situation in the individual federal states in its specifications. Because: “In Bavaria we currently have no indication that tests are so scarce that they no longer have to be carried out or even samples have to be discarded.”
The previous requirements for a PCR test still apply. You are entitled, for example, if you have a positive rapid or self-test or if the Corona-Warn-App is on red.
It looks much better with the PCR test capacities in the Austrian capital. Vienna provides an example of success. *Merkur.de/bayern is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA