The considerations of Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on restricting the free corona citizen tests are met with criticism. “It is important that people have a free test offer,” said Saxony’s Health Minister Petra Köpping (SPD) to the newspapers of the editorial network Germany (RND) on Wednesday. “Due to the increasing number of infections, this is necessary.” Other country representatives made similar statements.
A paper from Lauterbach’s ministry entitled “Corona Autumn Strategy” suggests that only people with corona symptoms and selected groups, such as hospital workers and small children, can take advantage of state-funded rapid tests. There should be exceptions for corona hotspots. The free offer to all citizens is only fixed until the end of June.
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The paper mentions other groups and occasions for free citizen tests: preventive tests in nursing homes and hospitals, people with increased contact exposure, e.g. before major events, with a contraindication to vaccination, e.g. pregnancy in the first trimester, a spreading infection situation in the “hotspot” and refugees from Ukraine.
Most recently, pressure had increased on the federal government from the federal states to quickly create a legal basis for further protective requirements in the event of a new corona wave in autumn. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia called for an amendment to the Infection Protection Act to be presented before the summer break before the two-day consultation of the health ministers this Wednesday. The number of infections has recently risen again.
Lower Saxony’s Health Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD) told the RND newspapers that compulsory testing in schools, daycare centers and almost all areas of public life had been abolished. “But I think it’s a wise approach to continue to make free tests available to all those who want to test themselves voluntarily.” Financing is still the responsibility of the federal government.
NRW Minister of Health Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) told the “Rheinische Post” that he expects “that the federal government will continue to enable a citizen-oriented test system in the future, especially for people with symptoms and to protect vulnerable groups”.
He also criticized the tight schedule, as the current regulation only applies until the end of the month. “It is absurd that the citizens, the employees in the test centers, but also the federal states still have no clarity about the future of citizen tests,” said Laumann.
The board of directors of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, was also critical. “Limiting preventive tests to hospitals and nursing homes alone excludes 3.2 million people in need of care, their relatives and carers,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. This “largest nursing service in Germany” needs free tests without cause. There should be no “clear cut” here.
Before the consultations with Lauterbach, state representatives also renewed their demands for a rapid revision of the Infection Protection Act in preparation for the fall. “The federal government must act now and adapt the Infection Protection Act,” said NRW Minister Laumann. “The current development shows how quickly changes in the infection process can occur, and then we have to be able to act.”
The Baden-Württemberg Health Minister Manfred Lucha (Greens) said in the SWR that if the federal government waits with the amendment to the law until after the parliamentary summer break, it will be “too late” for the states. After all, you would have to implement the corona containment measures.
Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) again rejected the demands and referred to the agreement in the coalition to first wait for a scientific evaluation of the previous corona containment measures. This is to be published on June 30th.