Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday. As a spokesperson said, a quick test on Thursday night was still negative and a quick test on Friday morning was positive. Habeck is fine. He currently has no symptoms. In accordance with legal requirements, he went into solitary confinement. All face-to-face meetings have been canceled. (04/29/2022)
At the national level, the obligation of isolation is reduced to five days
Prescribed isolation for corona-infected people should be reduced to five days. This was announced Thursday evening by the Health Ministry of Saxony-Anhalt, which currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers. In a video link from the heads of federal and state departments, the Federal Ministry of Health announced that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommendation regarding the length of isolation and quarantine should be adjusted early next week.
Countries want to revise their isolation and quarantine regulations accordingly. Health ministers justify the step with increased immunity in the population and milder disease progression with the omicron variant. It is gratifying that “all states have agreed on a uniform approach based on the scientific expertise of the RKI,” explained Saxony-Anhalt Health Minister Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD). A quarantine for the contacts of the infected should only be urgently recommended, as was said Thursday evening after the deliberations of the department heads.
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach recommends urgently recommending the self-test at the end of this period. “We know that many are still positive after the fifth day, and then they would contaminate others,” the SPD politician told ARD. Therefore, a free test is also useful for those who no longer have symptoms. Lauterbach announced a detailed proposal for the changes scheduled for Monday.
Several countries are already making progress in shortening the isolation period. Even in Baden-Württemberg it is expected to last only five days, as the German news agency has learned from coalition circles. From the beginning of May, a final free test after five days will also be omitted for most people who have had no symptoms for two days. There are exceptions for staff in clinics or nursing homes. Baden-Württemberg follows the example of Bavaria, where this regulation has been in effect since mid-April. Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia had also announced that they would take this path.
So far, isolation and quarantine have generally lasted ten days and can be terminated prematurely with a negative test after seven days at the latest. Federal Minister Lauterbach had withdrawn the originally planned end of the solitary confinement obligation. (04/29/2022)
The seven-day incidence drops to 758.5
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 101,610 new infections within 24 hours on Friday. That’s 60,108 fewer cases than last week’s Friday, when 161,718 coronary infections were reported. The seven-day incidence nationwide drops to 758.5 from 826.0 the previous day. Another 214 people died from the virus. This increased the number of reported deaths to 135,292.
The number of infections is currently of limited importance. Experts have long speculated that there will be a large number of cases not registered by the RKI – due to overworked health authorities and because not all infected people have performed a PCR test. Only these count in the statistics. That’s why we use the SZ Corona dashboard to show an average value from the reports over the past seven days, which is meant to compensate for daily fluctuations. You can find more information on this in the transparency blog, more pandemic data and charts here. (04/29/2022)
Omicron sub-variant BA.2 at 97%, other rare variants
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the omcron BA.2 sub-variant is likely to cause the vast majority of corona infections in Germany. According to the latest results – a sample from the previous week – their share was 97 percent, according to RKI’s weekly report on Thursday night.
BA.1, the previously predominant subtype, comes in at just under three percent. According to the data, the relatively new omicron sublines BA.4 and BA.5 have so far played no particular role: BA.4 is listed with a 0 percent stake, BA.5 with 0.1 percent. Mixed variants have so far only been detected in isolated cases, writes the RKI. In Germany, the genome is only fully examined in a small percentage of positive samples. (04/29/2022)
Drosten leaves the Corona committee
Virologist Christian Drosten withdraws from a commission for the scientific evaluation of state restrictions on the crown in Germany. Unfortunately, Drosten informed him that he would no longer accompany the evaluation of the Infection Protection Act for the federal government and parliament. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said on Twitter. “This is a heavy loss because no one could do it better.” The head of the Charité Berlin Institute of Virology remains a member of the federal government’s Corona Expert Council.
The Bundestag had stipulated in the Infection Protection Act that there should be an external assessment of the requirements in the context of the epidemic situation of national importance that has been going on for several months. A committee of experts has been set up for this purpose, which by law is expected to present a report by 30 June. Scientists from various disciplines are members of the committee.
A spokesperson for the Charité confirmed on request that Drosten had informed the commission of his withdrawal. He had come to the conclusion that the equipment and composition were not sufficient to be able to guarantee a scientifically high quality evaluation. Furthermore, in recent weeks, the content of the consultations has been repeatedly subject to misleading and incorrect reports. “From Prof. Drosten’s point of view, this hinders constructive and goal-oriented cooperation within the committee.” After all, members are bound by strict confidentiality. (04/28/2022)
Tens of thousands of vaccination violations
According to a media report, more than 47,000 violations of the corona vaccination requirement in the health sector have been reported to health authorities in Germany’s 20 largest cities. As the German editorial network reports following its own investigation, this has so far had no consequences for those affected. There has not been a single case of fines or entry bans.
According to the report, the most reported violations occur in the cities of Berlin (6541), Munich (5330) and Dresden (4821). In relation to the number of inhabitants, Dresden has by far the most unvaccinated health workers. There are 867 cases reported per 100,000 inhabitants. Bonn follows Dresden with 531 and Hannover with 498 reported cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
According to the report, cities do not want to impose fines or issue entry and activity bans until mid-May. Since mid-March, there is a national facility-related corona vaccination requirement for employees in hospitals and care. Without evidence, there is a risk of a work ban, which municipal health authorities can enact. A general obligation to vaccinate did not find a majority in the Bundestag in April. (04/28/2022)
Even in Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, masks are no longer mandatory in supermarkets
After the end of most of the state crown requirements in Germany, the latest even stricter requirements in Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will no longer apply. The Senate of the Hanseatic city and the Schwerin cabinet have decided to end further protection regulations as additional requirements for masks. For several weeks, both countries were the only ones nationwide to use a controversial “hotspot” clause for regions with a critical pandemic situation. There are still strong fluctuations in the official numbers of new infections in Germany after the Easter holidays. From the expert’s point of view, there is a risk of further uncertainty if the tests are not carried out in schools.
Given the current situation of the infection, measures imposed under the so-called hotspot rule should not be extended beyond next Saturday, Hamburg’s first mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) said Tuesday after consulting his red-green Senate. There is no reason for an extension. “Now we are taking big steps towards normal life again.” (04/27/2022)