Berlin (dpa) – In the fight against a fourth corona wave in Germany, unvaccinated people must prepare for more testing obligations and a foreseeable end of free rapid tests for everyone.
Vaccinated and recovering people should be exempt from the regulations regarding testing requirements. This is evident from a draft for Tuesday’s video conference between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Minister. However, some specific points still need to be decided. The stated goals: win more people for vaccinations as soon as possible – and prevent another lockdown in the fall and winter.
The number of new infections reported in seven days per 100,000 inhabitants has risen rapidly from summer lows. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) Tuesday morning, the seven-day incidence is now 23.5 – the day before it was 23.1 and at the latest a month ago it was 4.9.
An overview of the basic principles of the Bund-Länder-Ronde, which will also come out of the design from Monday evening. The newspaper is available for the German news agency.
The federal and state governments want to make a renewed call for now to accept vaccination options that are easily accessible everywhere – and as soon as possible. “If you want to have full vaccination protection in the fall, you should start vaccinating now,” the draft reads. 45.8 million people or 55.1 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated. In view of the more contagious variant of the Delta virus, however, this is not yet sufficient for basic protection for the entire society. “We have enough vaccine for all age groups,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). According to the federal government, the promised summer offer for everyone is now here – but the pace of vaccination is slowing.
Even before the deliberation, proposals received widespread approval to phase out the offer of free rapid tests for everyone in the autumn – also as an extra incentive for more free vaccinations. The Federal Ministry of Health had proposed the move for mid-October – the exact date was still open for the time being. The mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD), as chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference, mentioned October 10 or 11 as a very likely date on ZDF. “Then everyone has eight weeks from now on to get vaccinated.”
Rapid tests should then only be free for people who cannot be vaccinated or for whom there is no general vaccination advice, such as for pregnant women or people under the age of 18.
There was no discussion about leaving basic protection, hygiene and masking requirements at a distance in some areas: in buses, trains or shops. In addition, there were uniform requirements aimed at embedding the “3G rule” for access to certain indoor spaces: in other words, only those who have been vaccinated, recovered or have recently tested negative are allowed to enter or participate. According to the concept, this could apply to clinics, nursing homes, indoor catering, indoor events, church services, at the hairdresser’s, but also to fitness studios, swimming pools or sports halls. In the case of housing, there may be a test on arrival and then twice a week.
According to the concept, this could start in August – the exact date was not yet known. Rapid tests not older than 24 hours or more precise PCR tests that could be up to 48 hours ago would thus be possible. According to the draft, fully vaccinated, convalescent and school students from the age of 6, who are nevertheless regularly tested, would be excluded. It was also discussed that countries can suspend the 3G rule at a stable low incidence of seven days.
THE CORONA FRAMEWORK
It became clear that an important legal basis had to remain – the “epidemic of national magnitude”. Health ministers of all countries also voted unanimously on Monday to extend the Bundestag after 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 draft also states that the federal and state governments wanted to agree on “further measures” if efforts during vaccination and testing were not sufficient to control the infection process. To this end, «all indicators» must be closely monitored, in particular the incidence, but also the vaccination coverage, the serious disease progression and the burden on the health system, is emphasized in the design.
The federal government and the states also wanted to agree a fund to finance reconstruction after the floods in West Germany – according to data from the dpa, a possible amount of around 30 billion euros was under discussion. According to Monday night’s draft, half of the construction projects will be funded by the federal and state governments. Exact amounts have not yet been calculated. Especially in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate there is enormous damage. A federal law is planned. The Bundestag is expected to meet for a special session on 25 August, as the dpa learned from coalition circles. The Federal Council must also approve the plans.
The state group also wanted to advise on Tuesday on improvements to warnings for citizens. This includes a siren upgrade program and a system that sends messages to mobile phone users in a similar way to SMS – to anyone currently in a radio cell. This technology is already being used in many other countries.