Corona pandemic: Incidence rises again to more than 500

Status: 06/23/2022 10:22 a.m

The seven-day incidence of new corona infections has risen to more than 500 for the first time since May. The government is debating how to get the situation under control. The Minister of Education rules out school closures.

The seven-day incidence has risen again. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has given a value of 532.9. The 500 mark was exceeded for the first time since May 12 with a value of 502.4. Within the past 24 hours, the RKI also registered 119,360 new infections and 98 new deaths from corona infected people. Since tests are only incomplete, the number of infections is actually assumed to be higher.

The number of new corona infections in Germany has recently increased significantly again. This is mainly due to the rapidly spreading Omicron subtypes BA.4 and BA.5. According to the latest information from the Robert Koch Institute, these two variants, which first spread strongly in South Africa and Portugal, are by no means predominant in Germany. But experts assume that this will change.

No nationwide school closures

The summer wave has long since rekindled the debates about appropriate corona measures. However, Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger rules out the blanket closure of schools. The pandemic had drastic consequences for schoolchildren. You can see serious psychological, social and physical consequences, said the FDP politician in the ARD morning magazine.

“There should no longer be a nationwide school closure,” emphasized Stark-Watzinger. Learning deficits and loss of competence of up to half a year can already be seen. The German Teachers’ Association also sees “massive learning deficits”. The association calls for a nationwide survey of the performance level of the students at the beginning of the coming school year at the latest. It is not uncommon for one to find oneself “flying blind”, said association president Heinz-Peter Meidinger to the newspapers of the Funke media group.

Debate about the end of free citizen tests

Despite criticism, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) would like to stick to the plan to restrict free corona citizen tests. “The citizen tests have their value, they should continue to be offered, but they should be used in a targeted manner,” said Lauterbach on Deutschlandfunk. In the future, the tests should only be used where they “have the greatest benefit”. This affects, for example, visitors to hospitals, nursing homes or large events as well as people with symptoms of illness.

To justify the restrictions, Lauterbach referred to the high costs of the tests, which at times amounted to one billion euros per month. “The quality should be increased, the tests should be used more sensibly, the costs should remain within limits. I think we’ll just get more out of the tests,” said the minister. At the same time, he urged urgency, since the federally funded citizen tests will only be available until the end of June.

Changes in the Infection Protection Act

Lauterbach is also confident that the traffic light coalition will be able to agree on changes to the Infection Protection Act in a timely manner. In view of the increasing number of cases, several federal states urged the Berlin government to quickly create the legal requirements for stricter protective measures.

Lauterbach explained that work is already being done on six points of his seven-point plan. The negotiations about the mask requirement would start on July 1st, one day after the publication of the expert report on the evaluation of previous corona measures. “Once this report is available, we will come to an agreement very quickly, and I think even relatively quietly,” emphasized Lauterbach. He is confident that the key points will be decided before the summer break. “We’re doing reasonably well, much better than in previous years.”

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