Düsseldorf In light of record incidents, many countries now want to extend Corona rules until April 2. Health Secretary NRW Lohmann is checking on this as well. Pharmacists are calling for free tests to be offered to citizens after March.
In fact, almost all Corona restrictions should fall on March 20. But the coronavirus is not sticking to political timelines, but it is infecting more and more people. The NRW Health Minister, Karl Josef Lohmann (CDU), also tested positive, the ministry announced. Laumann is satisfied and runs the formal business from the home office. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the seven-day incidence rate rose to 1,382. Nationally, the incidence rose to its peak in 1585; 198,888 new infections were reported to the Robert Koch Institute within one day. Against this background, many countries do not want to lift Corona restrictions after all, but rather want to extend them until April 2. This transitional period is featured in the new Infection Protection Bill.
North Rhine-Westphalia also wants to stick to the restrictions. “The Secretary of Health considers it reasonable to wear masks indoors during the transition period granted by federal lawmakers until April 2nd,” a Le Mans spokeswoman said. This is suitable, for example, for trade, gastronomy, sports and cultural facilities. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) actually meant that the mask requirement should only apply in hospitals, nursing homes, buses and trains. It is still unclear what will happen to NRW’s 2G and 3G bases. Bavaria decided to stick with it until April 2.
The NRW Department of Education decides whether masks are mandatory in schools. This made it clear that protecting students and teachers was a priority, but that one also had to keep up with federal opening plans. Ayla Celik, state president of the GEW trade union, on maintaining the obligation to wear masks in schools: “If the obligation to wear masks is lifted independently of accidents, without purchasing air filters at the same time, for example, we see problems there. Celik said: “There was already a lack of long-term strategies in 2020.”
In any case, the situation in clinics is getting worse again, even if the intensive care units are not overcrowded. “We have an increasing number of corona patients, and the number of employees who are absent due to corona disease or quarantine is increasing,” says Dusseldorf University Hospital. Individual operations that can be planned must be abolished. The number of PCR tests is also increasing nationwide, and 54 percent of tests have been positive, according to the Association of Accredited Laboratories in Medicine.
It remains unclear what will happen to the free citizen tests. The corresponding exam list ends at the end of March; The federal government is considering whether there is an extension. The North Rhine Pharmacists Syndicate is calling for the following: “Now to make the same mistake as in October and make citizen tests chargeable, it would be irresponsible.” Association president Thomas Price said many of them are using citizens’ positive test to go into isolation without visiting a doctor. He noted the high demand: “With about a million citizens testing daily, the testing numbers are twice as high as in November, when we were struggling with the delta variant. We currently have an unprecedented positivity rate in citizen tests of more than ten percent.” For comparison: “In November, only about five percent of citizens’ tests were positive, and last summer it was only about two percent.”
The pharmacist stressed that through examination and self-isolation, citizens are effectively helping to prevent further infections. “In particular, vulnerable citizens such as the elderly, the chronically ill, and pregnant women are protected.” Testing is especially important at Easter, when many families meet. “Pharmacies finally need security planning for their trial operations,” Brace warned. Otherwise, it is no longer possible to provide enough rooms, staff and tests quickly enough.
According to the NRW, there are currently 6,806 testing centers in the state. In May 2021 there were more than 9,000 tests, and test centers conducted 5.8 million rapid tests in the past week, which are free to citizens. Providers also include pharmacies, currently every third pharmacy in the Rhineland conducts tests for citizens. Austria will limit the number of free coronavirus tests from April. After that, only five tests per month are free.
One thing is clear: Germany will not get rid of the virus so quickly. We don’t expect a further reduction in the number of infections before the summer break at the earliest. But it will certainly not be as low as last summer, ”says association president Press. “After the summer break at the latest and at the beginning of the cold season, a renewed increase in the number of infections can be expected. Until then, another boom can be expected. We don’t know yet how dangerous that is.”
Doctors are also unhappy. Ahead of the first reading of the Bundestag’s Infection Protection Act on Wednesday, medical representatives criticized the measures as being clearly ill-defined. “We need clear standards and threshold values for the so-called planned hotspot regulation with the law, which gives federal states the opportunity to take tougher preventive measures in particularly affected areas. The fact that the bill only gives examples of when federal states can enact more measures Rigor will inevitably lead to a nationwide patchwork of different regional regulations.“This unnecessarily disturbs the population,” President Dr. Klaus Reinhart told our editorial team. In principle, it is correct to partially reduce preventive measures, because infections with Omicron were much milder than those with Delta.