German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach attends a news conference about a finance reform of Germany's statutory health insurance (GKV), in Berlin, Germany, June 28, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

In view of the current corona summer wave, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is pushing for early protective measures in nursing homes. He appealed to the facilities to introduce a mask requirement for visitors by house rules, Lauterbach said on Wednesday after consultations with the sponsors of homes in Berlin.

In addition, every visitor must be tested, “otherwise we can expect significant outbreaks in the next few weeks,” said Lauterbach. He pointed out that the citizen tests for visitors to nursing homes will remain free of charge even with the new test regulation.

Lauterbach warned against waiting for the new Infection Protection Act to take protective measures. “We must act now.” There is currently no legal obligation; According to Lauterbach, the obligation to wear masks and tests are handled very differently in the homes.

In addition, the fourth vaccination should be promoted, the minister said. In the homes, only 30 percent of the residents would have received this, the vaccination gap is still very large. Lauterbach warned that one should not wait for the vaccine that is tailored to the Omicron variant.

This vaccine, which is expected for September, could then be an ideal supplement to the previous vaccines. Lauterbach is also pushing for more corona drugs to be used in the homes.

For the autumn, the minister wants to create a legal regulation that, among other things, provides for officers for mask and test obligations as well as for increased vaccination in the homes. (AFP)