Berlin (dpa) – In the fight against another big corona wave, unvaccinated people must be prepared for more testing obligations in everyday life – and rapid tests from October 11 usually pay off too. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers decided on Tuesday.
The federal and state governments also urged that many more citizens be vaccinated after the holidays to avoid more drastic restrictions in the fall and winter. “We should try to respond with light measures to avoid very dramatic measures as much as possible,” Merkel said.
“Those who have not been vaccinated will have to be tested regularly if they meet other people indoors,” the state’s decision says. Because the infection percentage is now increasing rapidly after the low level in the summer. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of new infections reported in seven days per 100,000 inhabitants is now 23.5 – the day before the seven-day incidence was 23.1, the most recent low a good month ago 4 , 9 .
Getting tested before going to a restaurant or going on vacation is foreseeably more complicated – including initiating more vaccinations, which are free and usually make extra testing unnecessary. Because everyone can now receive an immediate vaccination offer, taxpayers will not have to permanently bear the cost of all the tests, the decision says. Rapid tests should only be available free of charge to people who cannot be vaccinated or for whom there is no general vaccination recommendation, such as pregnant women and people under the age of 18.
The reigning mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD) said: “It is good to take this step.” Tests can be easily bypassed by vaccinating – there are now eight weeks for that. Anyone who does not accept the offer cannot expect the solidarity community to bear the costs. The federal government has been funding at least one rapid test a week for everyone since March, which has already cost more than three billion euros. In the future, a “reasonable price” will have to be paid by the federal government. For your reference: For test providers, the compensation has been reduced to 11.50 euros for material costs and test acceptance as of 1 July.
Federal and state governments are making an urgent appeal to adopt vaccination options that are easily accessible now — and as soon as possible. “If you want to have full vaccination protection in the fall, you should start vaccinating now,” the decision reads. 55.1 percent of all residents are fully vaccinated. However, due to the more contagious variant of the Delta virus, this is not yet sufficient for basic protection for the entire society, as Merkel made clear. It would be good to get “well above 70 percent and up to 80 percent,” but that’s not certain at this point. The chancellor also asked the more than 50 million people who had already been vaccinated to advertise it to others.
The well-known basic protection with distance, hygiene and mask requirements in buses, trains or shops must remain for everyone. As a uniform instrument, the “3G rule” for access to certain indoor areas should also apply by 23 August at the latest: only those who have been vaccinated, recovered or recently tested negative are allowed to enter or participate. This should apply, for example, to clinics, nursing homes, indoor catering, indoor events, at the hairdresser’s, in fitness studios, sports halls or swimming pools. In the case of housing, proof must be requested on arrival and – for those who have not been vaccinated and for those who have not recovered – a test twice a week.
Rapid tests not older than 24 hours or more precise PCR tests that can be up to 48 hours ago are possible. This does not apply to students from the age of 6, who are nevertheless regularly tested. Countries should be able to suspend the 3G rule in a relaxed corona situation – as long as the number of reported new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a neighborhood remains stable below 35 in seven days – or another warning system in the country with other factors has a similarly low infection rate. reflects. The Prime Minister of Bavaria, Markus Söder, made it clear that there will probably soon be a debate about access only for vaccinated and recovering (“2G”). “We’ve been testing like world champions for a year,” said the CSU boss. However, experience also shows that testing alone is not enough.
The corona framework
The “epidemic situation of national magnitude” must remain as an important legal basis for various corona measures. The federal and state governments are asking the Bundestag to extend it beyond September 11. Parliament had last done so on 11 June – without another vote, the special situation would end after three months. It gives the federal government the right to issue direct regulations, for example on tests and vaccinations. According to the Infection Act, measures by the federal states such as mask requirements or contact restrictions also relate to the determination of this special situation.
The federal and state governments have postponed concrete conclusions from discussions that, in addition to the number of new infections, other factors should also be included in the trigger thresholds of corona measures. Merkel made it clear that this is currently difficult to determine based on vaccination quotas as the central factor. For the time being, according to the resolution, “all indicators” must be monitored, in particular the incidence, but also vaccination coverage, serious disease progression and the burden on the health system. It’s a tough question, Söder said. There has been “still no formula for happiness” that will balance everything.