Berlin (dpa) – The federal government is under time pressure when it comes to the planned mandatory test for returning travelers who don’t have proof of a full vaccination or recovery.
He insists it be done now, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said in the ZDF’s “Markus Lanz” program. Brandenburg head of government Dietmar Woidke (SPD) told the Phoenix TV channel that a decision had to be made as soon as possible and no earlier than the middle or end of August. “We need to tackle the problem quickly,” said union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) of the media group “Straubinger Tagblatt / Landshuter Zeitung”.
Söder mentioned Tuesday, August 1, as the date with a view to an expanded testing obligation and referred to a commitment from the federal government. However, the federal government left the start date open.
Demand for pragmatism – countries want mandatory testing
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in the series of talks “Brigitte live” that the most pragmatic way for tests is currently being sought. Brinkhaus made it clear that they would not stop every car at the border crossings without holes and ask for test, vaccination or recovery proof. “We need to find a way to put this into practice.”
Heads of government in several federal states support mandatory testing. The ruling mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD) told the editorial network Germany (RND): “The tests are the central building block to curb the infection rate among the unvaccinated population.” Therefore, all returning travelers must be able to provide a negative test, proof of recovery or proof of vaccination. Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer emphasized that it has been known since last year that returnees from travel have contributed a lot to the increase in the number of infections. “It is a small extra effort for each of us, but creates a lot of safety,” the CDU politician told the RND.
Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) told the editorial network that another hard lockdown must be avoided at all costs. “Everyone, whether they come to us from abroad by car, train or plane and have not been vaccinated or recovered, must be able to show a negative test.” Dreyer expects the federal government to come up with a concept “how to ensure control and compliance with mandatory tests.”
“Interrupting Imported Infection Chains”
CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt said a fourth wave of corona could be prevented if vaccination progress is stepped up and infections detected early. “That’s why testing is the right path for anyone coming back from holiday regions. This is the only way to quickly interrupt imported infection chains,” said Dobrindt of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”.
SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach argued that a test does not necessarily have to be taken abroad before being allowed to go home. “There should be controls at train stations and airports. If you don’t have a test, you should be able to do it on the spot or be given a certain deadline to submit a test,” Lauterbach told the online news service ZDFheute.
Söder and Scholz also spoke out in favor of eventually having to pay for tests if everyone could have been vaccinated. However, this should not apply to those who could not be vaccinated for health reasons or for whom – as for children – there is no vaccination advice, Vice Chancellor Scholz emphasizes. CSU boss Söder said: “Anyone who absolutely does not want that, and I respect that, but then he also has to take consistency and responsibility for it.” A decision on when and how to make before the general election. When asked when the payment for tests could be applied, Söder replied: “From October for sure.”
Debate on incidence as a measure
Meanwhile, the discussion continues about which factors should determine corona protective measures in the future. The head of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, described the incidence as a “leading indicator” in a newspaper.
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) told the “picture” that in addition to the incidence, “other key figures are necessary to assess the situation”. The number of newly admitted Covid-19 patients in hospital is important. “As vaccination coverage increases, the incidence becomes less meaningful,” emphasized Spahn. CSU boss Söder said the incidence will certainly remain necessary. Another important question is when there is a risk of health system overload if more than half of the population is vaccinated.
FDP deputy parliamentary group Michael Theurer demanded in the “Welt” that Spahn work on introducing a “dynamic factor” – comprising, for example, the vaccination quota, available hospital beds and the capacity of health authorities. Health policy spokesman Achim Kessler called for a speedy special session of the Bundestag to amend the Infection Protection Act in the paper.
Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Dreyer demanded in the RND interview that the federal and state governments should arrive at a new warning value. The basis could be a traffic light system including a hospital admission incidence. Müller pointed to the Corona traffic light in Berlin, which, in addition to the incidence, also includes bed occupancy in the intensive care unit.