Lauterbach wants stricter contact restrictions – and issues a new vaccination target – WELT

Bundes Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wants to enforce stricter contact restrictions in addition to shortened quarantine times at the federal-state consultations on the corona pandemic on Friday. “Unfortunately, tightening will be necessary to counter the heavy wave that is coming our way,” Lauterbach told the “Editorial network Germany“(” RND “, Wednesday). “I will make suggestions.”

He did not give details, but emphasized that there was no reason to give the all-clear, especially for unvaccinated people. “You cannot promise them that the contact restrictions will be lifted for them in the short or medium term,” said Lauterbach. “My appeal to the unvaccinated is that they get vaccinated at least once quickly so that they have at least an important protective effect for the very serious course of the disease.”

The SPD politician defended his attempt to shorten the quarantine with a view to the Omikron variant of the virus. “Studies show that the generation time – including the phase in which the virus spreads in the body and the phase in which a person is contagious – is much shorter with Omikron,” he explained. “So we can shorten the quarantine time to a certain extent without taking any risks.”

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The background to the considerations is the concern that important supply areas could be endangered if the number of infections skyrocketed and many employees had to be quarantined at the same time. Lauterbach named in particular hospitals, elderly care, police, fire brigade and water and electricity supplies. New quarantine and isolation rules are required for these areas. School and travel should also be considered.

The German Association of Cities warned that staff shortages must be avoided at all costs. General Manager Helmut Dedy also assured: “Cities and municipal companies prepare for possible failures with their personnel planning.” For example, pandemic plans are created according to which teams can work separately from one another, or duty rosters are designed in such a way that employees from vacation are called upon in the event of shortages could become.

Lauterbach’s new vaccination goal

From Lauterbach’s point of view, the booster vaccination is the best protection against the Omikron variant. In an interview, the Minister of Health announced the booster vaccination for a further 15 million people as a new vaccination target.

“According to the modeling of the Robert Koch Institute, the goal should be that more than 80 percent of those who have been vaccinated twice are also boosted, i.e. 56 percent of the population,” he said. “Then Omikron has a hard time.”

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Change course in the pandemic

The minister argued that the existing restrictions mean that there are currently 50 percent fewer contacts than in the pre-pandemic period. “The contact restrictions plus the 80 percent boost will lower the R value,” said Lauterbach optimistically. “The booster vaccination is the best protection with the Omikron variant.”

So far 59.3 million people have been vaccinated twice. 32.7 million people received a booster vaccination. This corresponds to 55 percent of all those who have been vaccinated twice. Lauterbach’s 80 percent target means that around 47.5 million people will have to receive a booster vaccination. That is around 15 million more people than currently.

Lauterbach for the quick introduction of mandatory vaccinations

Lauterbach again campaigned for an early introduction of the general compulsory vaccination. “The vaccination must come quickly,” he told the “RND”. “We cannot wait for a compulsory vaccination to become superfluous because we have a very high level of infection in the population”. He is working on a proposal for mandatory vaccination for people over the age of 18. Lauterbach “prefers” to do without a vaccination register. Such a register is seen by many experts as the key to enforcing compulsory vaccination – data protection advocates however urge caution.

The prime ministers of the federal states will meet with representatives of the federal government on Friday to reassess the pandemic situation in Germany. The heads of the federal and state governments want to advise on shortening the quarantine and isolation times, with which personnel bottlenecks at important facilities are to be avoided.

The health ministers are already discussing this on Wednesday. The ministers of education will also meet on Wednesday. They are expected to speak out in favor of keeping schools open despite the increased spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Woidke expects a decision on further measures

Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) expects further measures to be taken in the fight against Omikron at the Corona summit. “I assume that decisions will be made on Friday, above all to ensure the functionality of the critical infrastructure and the functionality of the health system,” said Woidke of the dpa news agency. “I also assume that the decisions will of course contain the dynamic of the infection as much as possible.” He did not give any details.

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Woidke thinks decisions are urgently needed. “If you look at the explosive spread of the Omikron variant in Germany – especially the associated exploding numbers of infections, especially in northern German countries – we can’t wait any longer,” said Woidke. “We have to make decisions.” In his opinion, the data situation will be sufficient to make the necessary decisions.

The Brandenburg Minister of Health Ursula Nonnemacher (Greens) with shorter quarantine times. “It will result in an adjustment of the quarantine times in general,” said the minister on Wednesday morning on the RBB Inforadio. “I expect that they will be shortened.” In addition, “special regulations” are needed for employees in the so-called critical infrastructure. “Otherwise the business will collapse there, that is very clear and we have to talk about it, not every federal state can do that independently.” Nonnemacher was not more specific.

A comprehensive lockdown is no longer possible after changes to the Infection Protection Act by the traffic light parties. “We want to avoid blanket and blanket closures in the future”, assured Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) in an interview with the daily newspapers “Stuttgarter Zeitung”, “Stuttgarter Nachrichten” and the partner newspapers of the Neue Berliner Redaktionsgesellschaft.

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Lauterbach wants stricter contact restrictions – and issues a new vaccination target – WELT