Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann criticizes the federal government and Chancellor Scholz. “In a pandemic, the head of government must lead strongly, there is no other way,” said the Green politician on Deutschlandfunk. In a crisis, the Chancellor’s authority to set guidelines is required, compromises should not simply be made, even if it is complicated with three partners. The solution of wanting to introduce compulsory vaccination via group applications in the Bundestag, for example, is a lengthy process “with the risk that it will be talked about in the end and no clear line will come out of it”.
Another problem is overly complex corona regulations. The dilemma, however, is that simpler specifications are difficult to achieve. Either everything becomes much stricter, then the courts collect it. Or everything will become looser, then the pandemic will get out of hand. Therefore, he would have to find precise rules for each area, argued Kretschmann.
On Tuesday, the head of government spoke out against even talking about an end to the corona restrictions before Easter. After much criticism, he held out the prospect of easing until Easter if the Corona situation improved. “Of course there will be some easing and I will do some myself if the infection situation allows it – more precisely, if the burden on the health system allows it,” said Kretschmann. He, too, would be “glad” if there were orderly procedures again without the pressure from the pandemic. He has no pleasure in governing. (05.02.2022)
Incidence rises to 1388
The Robert Koch Institute has reported a further increase in the nationwide seven-day incidence. The RKI gave the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week on Saturday morning as 1388, which is another high. For comparison: the day before the value was 1349, on the same day of the previous week it was 1127 and on the 5th of the previous month it was 258. The health authorities in Germany reported 217,815 new corona infections to the RKI within one day. This emerges from figures that reflect the status of the RKI dashboard at 4:57 a.m. A week ago there were 189,166 infections.
Experts assume that there will be 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 limits in many places. In addition, some cities and districts have been reporting problems with the transmission of the number of corona cases for days. In addition, many infections with mild courses should not be reported at all. The number of unreported cases is therefore even higher than is usual with the corona numbers anyway.
According to the new information, 172 deaths were recorded in Germany within 24 hours. A week ago there were 182 deaths. The number of people who died from or involved a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 rose to 118,676. The RKI gave the number of corona-infected patients per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days on Friday with 5.45 on (Thursday: 5.00). These may also include people with a positive corona test who have another main illness. (05.02.2022)
Dreyer: MPK needs to talk about easing
According to Malu Dreyer, the head of government in Rhineland-Palatinate, the next prime ministers’ conference on February 16th should talk about easing the corona measures. At the latest then it must be about “clever ideas for facilitation”, said Dreyer Rhenish Post. But first we have to wait for the “peak of the omicron wave” expected for mid-February. Only then can one assess “whether the hospitals can do this in their normal and intensive care units and how much the loss of staff due to infection and quarantine in the critical infrastructure and in the companies will affect us,” said the SPD politician.
The SPD parliamentary group can also imagine the corona restrictions ending. “In the next few weeks we will take our time to see whether it is even necessary to extend the corona protection measures beyond March 19,” said parliamentary director Johannes Fechner World.
Opinion is divided in the medical profession: The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Andreas Gassen, is in favor of rapid easing: “What we need now is a freedom plan – a plan how we can relax step by step and based on parameters”, he said the Rheinische Post.
The President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Gernot Marx, warns in the newspapers of the Funke media group against opening steps too early. In Germany, the omicron wave was not as steep as in other countries, precisely because of the protective measures. This success should not be jeopardized. “Specific easing can only be decided when the peak of the omicron wave is behind us,” he demanded. (05.02.2022)
FDP moves away from Wieler
The FDP is distancing itself from the head of the Robert Koch Institute, which has been criticized in recent weeks for a lack of agreements. “I have great respect for the achievements of RKI boss Lothar Wieler over the past two years during the pandemic,” said the designated FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Saai Spiegel. However, the decision made ad hoc and without prior consultation with the federal government to reduce the convalescent status from six to three months was a big mistake.
As a result of the move, many citizens suddenly lost the right to visit restaurants, bars or fitness studios in mid-January. “The RKI cannot just casually determine the shortening of the recovery period with the stroke of a pen and without any announcement. Optimal communication works differently,” said Djir-Sarai. Because of this recent misconduct, which unfortunately is not an isolated case, Wieler can no longer be sure of the trust of his party. (05.02.2022)
WHO: Patent-free vaccine from Africa making good progress
According to the World Health Organization, preparations for a patent-free corona vaccine from Africa are progressing better than expected. The research and production center selected by the WHO in South Africa – the company Afrigens Biologics and Vaccines in Cape Town – produced a vaccine candidate based on the new mRNA technology within a few weeks. This was achieved without the support of the biotech companies that produce mRNA corona vaccines but have so far refused to cooperate, said Martin Friede, WHO coordinator for vaccination research.
“In September, many said: This is rocket technology, you can’t do it,” said Friede. Now the tests with the vaccine candidate could begin in the fall. The WHO emphasizes that the laboratory uses publicly available technology and does not infringe any patents. The technology is to be made available to companies in other poorer countries. In February, further countries are to be named in which production is to take place. Argentina and Brazil are already fixed as locations. The WHO called on companies like Biontech or Moderna to participate in the project again. In this case, a lot of time can be saved in clinical studies and vaccine development is conceivable in twelve to 18 months, otherwise it will take three years.
“There was so much hope when the vaccines came – but then we saw the phenomenon of vaccine hoarding and rich countries secured billions of dollars of vaccine first refusal,” said WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan. Poorer countries went almost empty-handed for months. The WHO has recognized that the problem can only be solved if production takes place there. (05.02.2022)
Traffic light MPs present key points for compulsory vaccination law
Several MPs from the SPD, Greens and FDP have presented key points for a cross-party draft law for compulsory corona vaccination from the age of 18. Accordingly, the vaccination requirement should be fulfilled with three vaccinations and limited to December 31, 2023, as can be seen from the paper distributed on Friday. “This is the path we want to go,” said one of the initiators, the Greens politician and former Hamburg Justice Senator Till Steffen, the Reuters news agency. According to the Green politician, “a vast majority” is in favor of the cornerstones in his own parliamentary group.
When implementing the vaccination requirement, the aim is to work closely with the health insurance companies, which should inform their insured about the new law and about the counseling services. A vaccination portal should also be made available to the cash registers “in order to be able to collect the vaccination certificates in a data-saving and protected manner,” says Steffen. The enforcement of a possible fine should be suspended if the person concerned catches up on the vaccination within six weeks of the fine being imposed. (04.02.2022)
No more mask outdoors
Spain lifts the mask requirement outdoors on February 10. The situation in the country has changed because of the falling number of infections in the past few days, said Health Minister Carolina Darias. The number of hospital admissions and deaths is also far below the level of previous waves of the corona pandemic. The government introduced the mask requirement in December after an extremely sharp increase in the number of cases. (04.02.2022)
RKI estimates the number of corona-related doctor visits at 320,000 in one week
The Robert Koch Institute estimates the number of doctor visits in Germany because of Corona in the past week at around 320,000. The values of the fourth wave are already significantly exceeded in almost all age groups, writes the RKI in its weekly report. The number of visits to the doctor has increased since the turn of the year and has stagnated compared to the previous week, although late registrations are still possible.
According to RKI calculations, 0.9 to 1.8 percent of the population aged 15 and over had contracted Covid-19 with symptoms of an acute respiratory disease in the previous week. In the case of children up to the age of 15, the Institute speaks of a proportion of those affected of around 1.6 to 3.2 percent. The RKI has been presenting such calculations for around two weeks – also because laboratories and health authorities are at the limit when recording infected people and it is assumed that the reporting data is becoming increasingly incomplete.
Although the seven-day incidence is still highest in the 5 to 19 age group, the omicron wave is slowly reaching the elderly population. In the intensive care units, however, the situation is still under control, and there is currently no evidence of an omicron-related increase in the wave there. (04.02.2022)