The Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council is calling for significantly better crisis communication from politicians and authorities. Most citizens would follow the rules because they wanted to help end the pandemic, the panel wrote in a statement. However, there is a “lack of consistency between the available information, its assessments and the resulting recommendations”. This unsettles the population, “offers a target for false information and disinformation, undermines trust in government action and endangers the success of important health protection measures”.
In their fifth statement to date, the advisers to the federal government are writing, a “fast-reacting, evidence-based, target group and user-specific risk and health communication” is essential. You have to “simply explain” scientific findings and derive recommendations for action from them. So far, authorities and ministries have only partially implemented this.
The Council lists four things that now need to be accomplished: First, the collation and generation of the best available knowledge. Second, the translation of relevant data into target group-specific and understandable information formats. Among other things, the statement says: “The goals should be education and not advertising or persuasion (‘persuasion’).” Thirdly, information must be provided via the various channels of a modern information society. And finally, the effects achieved need to be checked and the strategy adjusted if necessary. The statement states that so far there is no institution in Germany that implements these principles in risk and health communication. This must now be expanded “quickly”. (31.01.2022)
Scholz clearly misses vaccination targets
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) missed the goal of vaccinating 80 percent of the population against Corona at least once by the end of January. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit conceded. The rate published by the Robert Koch Institute on January 30 was 75.8 percent. Scholz himself had already admitted a week ago that he would not achieve a second vaccination goal by the end of January: 30 million vaccinations since Christmas. According to the RKI numbers, from December 26 to January 30, only a good 17.3 million first, second and third vaccinations were administered.
January 31 is not included in the figures, and there may still be late registrations. The total daily values for vaccinations have never been more than one million since the beginning of the year. The high was reached on January 12 at around 871,000.
Hebestreit attributed the failure to meet the targets to the lack of willingness to vaccinate since Christmas. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, more than a million people were vaccinated each day. “This momentum has slowed over the Christmas holidays and has not picked up as much as we had hoped for the start of the year,” he said. (31.01.2022)
Government spokesman: It is still too early for relaxed rules
The federal government currently sees no reason to relax the corona measures. “The moment we have the feeling that we can relax responsibly, this federal government, all state governments will take exactly this step,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. At the moment it is “still a bit premature” to take this step. One is still in the phase in which things are going uphill with the numbers, every day there are new record values. The peak of the wave has not yet been reached. “And in that respect I would warn at the moment not to believe too early that it’s already over,” said Hebestreit.
In the governing coalition, however, the FDP is demanding that relaxation steps be discussed now. Party leader and Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner said that Spiegel: “We haven’t put the omicron wave behind us yet, but we have to start working on when and under what conditions gradual openings can occur.”
The next federal-state round on February 16 should deal with it. There could be rapid changes in retail, said Lindner, in other areas more lead time is needed – for example in the event industry. “For me it’s about creating an expectation perspective, under which conditions and in which steps what is possible,” said Lindner. (31.01.2022)
Nationwide incidence value rises to 1177
The Robert Koch Institute reports 78,318 new positive tests within 24 hours. That is 14,925 more cases than on Monday a week ago, when 63,393 new infections were reported. The nationwide seven-day incidence rises to a new high of 1176.8. The previous day it was 1156.8. However, these numbers are likely to be far too low. Experts assume a high and increasing number of cases that are not recorded in the RKI data, partly because testing capacities and health authorities are at their limit in many places. In addition, some cities and districts have been reporting problems with the transmission of the number of corona cases for days.
61 more people died within a day related to the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths to 117,786. (31.01.2022)
IMK boss Herrmann wants to step up action against extremist violent criminals during corona protests
The chairman of the Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK), the Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann (CSU), wants to step up action against violent extremists during corona protests. His explicit warning is aimed “at extremist arsonists who are ready to use violence and want to use the protests to spread their radical ideas and their anti-democratic attitude,” Herrmann told the newspapers of the Funke media group.
As chairman of the conference of interior ministers, he will “work hard for increased monitoring of extremist efforts in the scene.” The Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution has a particular eye on right-wing extremists and citizens of the Reich. “Corresponding mobilization findings are immediately passed on to the police.” The Interior Minister called it questionable that on Sunday, the anniversary of Hitler’s accession to power in 1933, corona demonstrations were called – including in Nuremberg at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. (31.01.2022)
37 more corona cases before the Olympics in Beijing
Less than a week before the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, organizers have identified 37 more corona cases. As the organizing committee announced, 28 people entering the country tested positive for the corona virus on Sunday, including eight athletes or team members. Infections were also registered in nine people who are already in the closed Olympic system. The day before there had been a total of 34 positive tests, and the total number of corona cases has risen to 176 since January 23.
A strict corona security concept applies to the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Everyone involved – from athletes to journalists – is completely segregated from the rest of the Chinese population. In order to detect infections as quickly as possible, each participant must complete a daily PCR test within the Olympic bubble. Anyone who has contracted the virus will be isolated in a specially designated hotel. Only after two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart can those affected leave before the end of ten days. After this period, only a negative PCR test is required. The People’s Republic of China is pursuing a strict “zero Covid” strategy, in which even smaller strands of infection are being combated with tough measures. In the past few weeks, the authorities have imposed lockdowns in several cities in the country. (31.01.2022)
Austria wants to gradually relax corona rules
Despite a high number of new infections, Austria is gradually relaxing its corona measures. Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) announced that the curfew would be pushed from 10 p.m. to midnight on February 5. From February 12th, the 2-G rule will apply in retail. However, the obligation to wear an FFP2 mask remains. From February 19th, the 3-G rule will apply in gastronomy and tourism instead of the 2-G rule, it said. This makes it possible for those who have not been vaccinated to visit bars – with a negative corona test.
The basis for the decisions is therefore the foreseeable further low burden on the clinics. “These numbers are stable and at a really predictable level,” said Nehammer about the situation in the normal and intensive care units. Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) said there was no longer any risk of overload, especially in the intensive care units. Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) was pleased with the development. Above all, the 10 p.m. curfew was a major challenge for the companies and the guests. She also hopes for a perspective for night gastronomy and for the big events in the coming weeks.
The seven-day incidence in Austria is around 2,400 per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the government, the peak of the current corona wave is expected at the end of the first week of February. (29.01.2022)