Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has pleaded for a cautious approach to possible openings in view of the concerns about a third corona wave. According to information from the Handelsblatt, Merkel showed understanding at a switching conference of the CDU presidium on Monday that “the citizens are longing for an opening strategy”. However, openings must be introduced wisely and in connection with increased corona tests, she said, according to participants.
The Chancellor identified three areas for relaxation: personal contacts, schools and vocational schools as well as the aspect that includes sport, restaurants and culture. The aim is to “put together packages” to allow openings.
From Tuesday on, according to this information, a working group with Chancellor Helge Braun (CDU) and the heads of the state chancelleries of the federal states will meet on the subject of openings. The next Prime Minister’s Conference with the Chancellor, planned for March 3, is to be prepared.
Braun warned in the CDU Presidium against hasty easing steps. The mutations of the corona virus would “destroy our good development” in the number of infections, participants quoted the CDU politician as saying.
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In the presidium, there was also talk of the possibility of how family and company doctors could be involved in vaccinations, party circles said. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has made it clear that this only makes sense if, as with the flu vaccination, three to five million vaccine doses are available per week.
The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Andreas Gassen, expressed reluctance to start vaccination in practices on Monday. An exact date is “difficult to pin down precisely,” he said on ZDF. There are still not enough vaccinations. “I think a period of four to six weeks will bring us more clarity,” said Gassen.
RKI reports almost 4400 new infections
The curve of new infections had last pointed upwards for the fourth day in a row – despite the lockdown that has been in place since mid-December. On Monday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported hardly any change: Within one day, the health authorities registered 4,369 new infections, a week ago there were 4,426.
At the same time, however, the number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) continued to rise: to 61.0 nationwide. The day before it was still at 60.2.
The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, warned of a weakening of the lockdown in Germany. “With each loosening there will be a significant increase in the numbers,” said the doctor to the newspapers of the Funke media group. Montgomery referred to the development of the reproduction number R, with which the RKI estimates the dynamics of the infection process.
“Anyone who talks about easing in times of rising R-values is acting absolutely irresponsibly,” said Montgomery. The nationwide seven-day R-value was 1.10 according to the RKI’s management report on Sunday afternoon (previous day 1.07). This means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 110 more people. The value represents the occurrence of the infection eight to 16 days ago. If this value is below one over a longer period of time, the infection rate subsides.
Berlin medical officers warn against orientation to the seven-day incidence
However, it is controversial to what extent the question of easing should depend on pure incidence figures. It is “not expedient” to link containment measures to certain values in the seven-day incidence such as 35 or 50, wrote all twelve Berlin medical officers according to a report by the “Tagesspiegel” in a statement for the Berlin Senate Chancellery.
“These incidences do not reflect the actual infection process,” is the assessment of the medical professionals. The incidences are dependent on test capacities and people’s willingness to test. “This leads to fluctuations that do not reflect the infectious situation,” the paper quotes the doctors.
An incidence analysis based on age groups is necessary as an “early warning system”. According to the “Tagesspiegel”, there was a “big difference” between the group of medical officers and whether there was a seven-day incidence of 50 people over 80 vaccinated and all infected children were symptom-free – or whether risk groups were particularly affected. Then you have to align the political measures.
The doctors suggested “intensive measures of infection prevention” for the elderly and the sick and at the same time a moderation of the measures for other groups such as school children.
More: Immune in the office: This is how the Dax companies want to organize the vaccinations.