Correspondent in Berlin
The German parliament has given the green light today (Friday) to the new quarantine regulations, which frees those vaccinated with the third dose and reduces from 14 to 10 days for the rest in case of infection. For ‘direct contacts’ with an infected person who are not vaccinated with the third dose, the quarantine may end if on the fifth day a test gives a negative result. The Bundestag thus ratifies the decision of the government of Olaf Scholz, defended in the plan by his Minister of Health,
Karl Lauterbach, who has argued the “need for avoid collapsing certain labor sectors essential due to lack of personnel”, because the Omicron variant is leading to a high level of infections that multiplies the employees in quarantine.
In a speech to the Bundesrat, Lauterbach described how he thinks the pandemic will unfold in the coming months: “We have the means to largely end the pandemic in Germany, not all countries have this opportunity, but in that battle it is The third dose is essential. “In general, given the lower severity of the Omicron variant, it could be inferred that Covid-19 is now more like the flu, but that is definitely not the case,” he warned, “above all, because a large number of new infections places a heavy burden on the health system. Mortality in Germany is not yet determined and we have a comparatively high average age in the population, with too many people in this group who are not vaccinated.” “We have not reached the peak of the number of cases,” he pointed out, “there are those who consider Omicron to be the last chapter of the pandemic, perhaps one in a hundred, but the fact is that the pandemic continues.”
72.5% of the German population has been vaccinated with the first two doses, while 45.9% have already received the third, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute. Chancellor Scholz faces a poor vaccination rate, but boasts that “we are the European country that is applying the third dose the fastest.” The Permanent Vaccination Commission (Stiko) has already issued the official recommendation to vaccinate adolescents from 12 years of age also with that third dose, at least three months after receiving the second. The president of Stiko, Thomas Mertens, however, rejects the general vaccination obligation that Chancellor Scholz wants to take to parliament. “It divides society, there is too much pressure,” he said, assuring that he trusts “in the effectiveness of greater persuasion and education about the vaccine.” “A mandatory vaccine will not necessarily achieve the intended objective,” he acknowledged, while wondering: “What do you do with those who refuse? Many of those people probably wouldn’t be swayed by a fine. Furthermore, even a quick vaccination cannot break the current corona wave.” “We do not decide on the basis of opinions, but on the basis of a careful evaluation of all available data and knowledge”, he has justified his discrepancy with the political desire to legislate the mandatory vaccine, “Germany allows itself the luxury of having a panel group of experts that makes recommendations without taking into account the interests of politics or the pharmaceutical industry. What Stiko decides does not suit everyone, but there is a big difference between the evidence and the felt truth. Minister Lauterbach, regarding the compulsory vaccine, has said that “I am someone who does not blame the unvaccinated, they should be treated in the same way as the vaccinated. It is an imperative of our humanism. But if everyone said they are healthy and don’t need to be vaccinated, it would be impossible to fight the virus.”
This debate takes place in Germany while the RKI reports record incidence data and new infections of the Omicron variant, which is already the dominant one in its territory. The cumulative incidence rose to 470.6 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days and new infections reached their third consecutive daily maximum, with 92,223 in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases stands at about 805,400. The death toll with or from covid-19 in the last 48 hours rises to 286, compared to 264 a week ago. “After the momentary setback towards the end of 2021 in the numbers of contagion, of the serious evolutions of the disease and of deaths during the fourth wave, the fifth wave of the Omicron variant has now begun in Germany, with the dominant circulation of the Omicron variant. pandemic,” says the RKI in its weekly report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism