“Corona Autumn Strategy”
Lauterbach is canceling free tests – but not for everyone
06/21/2022, 9:25 p.m
Health Minister Lauterbach’s “Corona Autumn Strategy” stipulates, among other things, that citizen tests will soon only be free for vulnerable groups and those with symptoms. The federal states will discuss his seven-point plan tomorrow. Some of them call for more speed in the preparations.
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach apparently wants to end access to free rapid corona tests without cause for all citizens and in future restrict it to patients with symptoms and selected groups of people. This emerges from the ministry’s “Corona Autumn Strategy”, from which the editorial network Germany quoted. The seven-point plan was sent to the health ministers of the federal states, who will meet for a conference on Wednesday.
According to the draft, there should be free citizen tests in the future, for example for preventive tests in nursing homes and hospitals. Small children and people with many contacts should also have the opportunity to take a free citizen test, for example before a major event. The same applies to people with “a contraindication to vaccination” such as pregnant women in the first three months of their pregnancy. Lauterbach also wants to continue to make free rapid tests possible for refugees from Ukraine, as well as people in corona hotspots.
However, the newspapers reported that an easily accessible test infrastructure, including in pharmacies, should be retained. In the future, however, the federal government wants to pay the test centers less money per rapid antigen test and PCR test for the citizens. “The overall costs are to be reduced by about half,” the ministry’s strategy paper is quoted as saying. The test regulation should be amended by the end of June.
Pressure on the federal government is growing
The pressure on the federal government to quickly create a legal basis for further protection requirements in the event of a new corona wave in autumn is increasing. Before the two-day deliberations of the health ministers, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia called for an amendment to the Infection Protection Act to be presented before the summer break. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann said in Stuttgart that filling the toolbox to the full is a matter of practical common sense. “The fire brigade doesn’t work in such a way that they only order the hoses when they see the size of the fire.” For months he has been calling for countries to be given the opportunity to take extensive protective measures. The FDP prevented that in the federal government. The minimum equipment must include a mask requirement indoors, contact restrictions, upper limits for events and test requirements.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that it had been agreed with the federal states that the federal government would make a surcharge after June 30 and take into account the assessments of the responsible expert commission. The proposals will then be discussed with the countries. Irrespective of individual demands for more rapid action, action will be taken in accordance with this agreement. “It will be done very calmly. We also want to be finished so quickly that the laws for September 23 are all passed.”
The Corona provisions in the Infection Protection Act, which were severely reduced at the beginning of spring, expire on September 23rd. Meanwhile, the number of infections is increasing again. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the seven-day incidence in the morning as 458.5. The day before, the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants was 416.0 in seven days – after 447.3 a week ago and 342.0 a month ago. Experts fear another corona wave for autumn and winter.
In the coalition, the FDP rejects quick new definitions. First of all, a report by an expert committee expected by June 30th, which is to evaluate previous pandemic measures, should be awaited. The health politicians of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, on the other hand, are calling, among other things, for a “short-term implementation of a representative antibody study” and accordingly a “reorientation of the vaccination campaign” based on the data obtained. The statement by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, which is available ntv, also provides for therapy and treatment options for “patients with long-Covid and vaccination side effects”.
AfD rejects “patronage of the citizens”.
SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich made it clear that he believes new requirements are necessary. The review of the previous measures is important “in order to adjust the measures”. Green parliamentary group leader Britta Haßelmann said that as soon as the commission report and further information were available, the coalition could present key points “in which we plan ahead what to do from September, when the Infection Protection Act expires”. A decision in Parliament will then be made by the beginning of September at the latest. According to the meeting calendar, the Bundestag will take its summer break on July 8th and will meet again in the week beginning September 5th.
AfD party and parliamentary group leader Tino Chrupalla said in Berlin that the government was preparing “further measures to tame the citizens” in the case of Corona. The AfD will reject this. In the future, protective measures would have to be left to the personal responsibility of the citizens.