01.07.2022, Berlin: Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Bundesminister für Gesundheit, spricht auf einer Pressekonferenz zum Evaluationsbericht des IfSG. Der IfSG präsentiert heute die Ergebnisse des Evaluationsbericht der bisherigen Corona-Schutzmaßnahmen. Foto: Fabian Sommer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

According to Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, Germany will soon be heading for a significant deterioration in the corona situation. “We are facing heavy waves in autumn and winter,” said the SPD politician on Friday evening on ZDF’s “heute journal”.

After submitting an expert report, Lauterbach promised to speed up the revision of the Infection Protection Act. In the spring, the provisions were severely reduced, and the current nationwide legal basis expires on September 23rd.

On Friday, a committee of experts presented a long-awaited report on the effectiveness of previous corona protection measures. Accordingly, protective measures such as wearing a mask can continue to be helpful against the corona virus. But behind many other known conditions, the experts put question marks, due to a lack of sufficient data, no reliable assessments are possible.

“It will be a difficult autumn, we have to be prepared,” Lauterbach said in the ARD “Tagesthemen”. He believes that “we will have great difficulties with the BA.5 variant that is now spreading here”. He expects a very high number of cases, which could also lead to an overload of the critical infrastructure.

Lauterbach ruled out a lockdown like at the beginning of the pandemic on ZDF: “We wouldn’t repeat that.” But it could be that one or the other measure would make sense again. Lauterbach did not want to give details, referring to confidential negotiations with Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP). They had already started a one-and-a-half-hour conversation on Friday. “I think we’ll be quick,” said Lauterbach. In the next few weeks, a good infection protection law will be prepared.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the nationwide seven-day incidence on Saturday morning as 696.5. This is evident from numbers that reflect the status of the RKI dashboard at 5 a.m. The day before, the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week was 682.7 (previous week: 632.9; previous month: 221.4). However, the incidence does not provide a complete picture of the infection situation. Experts have been assuming for some time that there will be a large number of cases not recorded by the RKI – mainly because not all infected people have a PCR test done. Only positive PCR tests count in the statistics. In addition, late registrations or transmission problems can lead to a distortion of individual daily values.

The health authorities in Germany recently reported 98,669 new corona infections (previous week: 89,336) and 103 deaths (previous week: 84) to the RKI within one day. Here, too, comparisons of the data are only possible to a limited extent due to the test behavior, late registrations or transmission problems. In general, the number of registered new infections and deaths varies significantly from weekday to weekday, since many federal states do not transmit them to the RKI, especially at weekends, and report their cases later in the week.

The German Association of Cities also warns to hurry with the Corona measures. “The traffic light has to come to an agreement before the summer break. It is too late to start a legislative process for a new infection protection law in the autumn,” said Managing Director Helmut Dedy to the newspapers of the Funke media group. The federal government should make it possible “to wear masks indoors in dangerous situations,” Dedy demanded. Access regulations for 2G/3G also belong in the toolbox.

The chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, called for a departure from the incidence figures as the basis for far-reaching corona measures. In the transition to endemics, politics should first and foremost focus on protecting risk groups, Gassen told the Rheinische Post. He understandably mentioned the limitation of a mask requirement to indoor areas or places with a higher risk of infection.

According to Gassen, school closures should be avoided. “It won’t come to that anymore,” made clear the FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr in the “Welt am Sonntag”. The head of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, proposed a round table of health and education ministers, doctors, educators and other experts in the Funke newspapers “to develop a viable corona strategy for schools and daycare centers”.

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities is calling for the free corona citizen tests to be resumed soon in view of the worsening situation in autumn. “We assume that by autumn at the latest, when the next big corona wave threatens, there will have to be free tests across the board again,” said managing director Gerd Landsberg of the editorial network Germany (RND). The free rapid tests are an important building block for the pandemic combat.

Since Thursday there have only been free tests for risk groups and other exceptional cases. For tests, for example for family celebrations, concerts or meetings with people over 60, an additional payment of three euros is due. Anyone who wants such a test must sign that it is being done for this purpose. Lauterbach justified the restriction, among other things, with the high costs of the tests.