German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gestures as he gives a TV interview with German public broadcaster ARD on July 3, 2022. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) does not expect corona measures to be as drastic as in the last two years for the coming autumn and winter. “There shouldn’t be any more school closures, and I don’t think we need a lockdown like we’ve had in recent years,” he said on Sunday in the ARD summer interview in the “Report from Berlin”.

You now have a “completely changed situation,” said Scholz, with a view to a vaccination rate of 76 percent (basic immunization) in Germany. However, the Chancellor can imagine that compulsory tests and masks will play a greater role in the fight against Corona again in autumn and winter. “There has to be a discussion about whether the tests will be used again,” he said.

Regarding the obligation to wear masks, which mainly still exist on public transport and in facilities with risk groups such as clinics and nursing homes, he said: “I think that one has to assume that the mask will play a greater role in autumn and winter than it does now .”

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann said that the federal government would present a concept for the Corona autumn in July. “The mask will certainly play a role there,” said the FDP politician of the “Welt am Sonntag”. The minister did not give any further details.

With a view to the report presented on Friday by a committee of experts on the effectiveness of previous protective measures, the minister said: “Our duty to ensure that there is a reasonable legal basis and to use the knowledge available, as well as our respect for this evaluation body, means that we are only now evaluate this report. Then we’ll see.”

According to Buschmann, lockdowns, school closures and curfews are no longer proportionate in the third year of Corona.

According to the expert report, 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.

In view of the increasing number of infections, the calls for quick legal preparations for a corona autumn wave are getting louder. “Further corona precautions must now be worked out very quickly so that the proven measures can also remain possible in autumn and winter if necessary,” tweeted Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) on Saturday.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach had previously warned of a significant deterioration in the situation. “We are facing heavy waves in autumn and winter,” said the SPD politician on Friday evening on ZDF’s “heute journal”. After the expert report was presented, 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.

According to a report, the federal government spent around 6.8 billion euros by the beginning of June on the corona vaccines it had procured. This was announced by Secretary of State for Health Edgar Franke (SPD) in response to a parliamentary question from CSU health politician Stephan Pilsinger, as reported by the editorial network Germany on Sunday.

The ministry did not provide a precise breakdown of the costs; according to the contracts, the prices of the respective vaccines are confidential information. According to the report, including the costs of the vaccine, it is now possible to quantify the total expenditure the pandemic has caused in the healthcare sector since spring 2020.

According to the Federal Social Security Office, a total of 46.4 billion euros was spent on vaccinations, vaccination centers, citizen and PCR tests, protective masks, compensation payments for hospitals and corona drugs by the end of June, as the RND newspapers reported from the information they had from the Federal Office reported. Together with the vaccines, this results in a total of 53.2 billion euros.

The CDU/CSU parliamentary group renewed its criticism of Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s (SPD) plans to buy more vaccines. On the one hand, Lauterbach is already announcing increases in contributions for those with statutory health insurance, on the other hand he is ordering billions in vaccines “haphazardly”.