Monday, January 17, 2022

News blog Covid-19 Kekulé: Abolish flat quarantine for contact persons

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So far, the decision as to whether a contact has to be quarantined does not depend on symptoms. But virologist Alexander Kekulé is now making a new proposal. All information in the news blog.

A severe corona wave is shaking Germany: In many regions, the number of infections and deaths is high, and hospitals are again overloaded. Now a new variant is causing the experts additional worries: Omikron. More than 71 percent of citizens are fully vaccinated.

In the event of a rapidly increasing number of infections in the Omikron wave, the virologist Alexander Kekulé has given the opportunity to abolish the tracking and quarantine of symptom-free contacts. According to him, people with symptoms and confirmed infections should continue to be consistently isolated, as he explained on Tuesday at MDR Aktuell.

With a view to a situation with very high case numbers, Kekulé described it as “completely excluded that the health department will then identify all contact persons”. He would “seriously consider the possibility” of giving up the follow-up.

From now on, double vaccination or recovery is no longer enough in the Bundestag either. Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) is putting a new general decree with 2G-plus rules into force for parliament this Wednesday – “in view of the risk of infection from the highly contagious Omikron variant” and in consultation with the parliamentary groups, as the Bundestag announced on Tuesday.

For the 736 members of the Bundestag, their employees and other members of parliament, the new rules specifically mean: Anyone who has only been vaccinated twice or has recovered needs an additional negative test for access to the plenary hall or committee meetings. Those who have been boosted or have recovered with a double vaccination do not need this. In addition, FFP2 masks must be worn in the Bundestag from now on. Surgical masks are no longer sufficient. MEPs who have neither been vaccinated nor recovered can continue to watch the meetings from the stands – but from now on only if they present a current negative test.

The AfD, from which a particularly large number of MPs are not vaccinated, criticized the new rules sharply: “We will look at it very carefully and also complain,” said parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel on Tuesday. With the ever new restrictions in the Bundestag, the free mandate of the MPs is restricted. Weidel said: “I am not vaccinated, and the regulation of those who have recovered applies to me because I was already suffering from Corona. And accordingly I will be tested tomorrow in order to take a seat in the plenary.

In the coronavirus pandemic, more patients with Covid-19 disease are in hospitals in the United States than ever before. They occupied nearly 146,000 hospital beds nationwide – more than one in five available beds in the country, according to data from the Ministry of Health on Tuesday. In total, almost 78 percent of all hospital beds are currently occupied. Previously, the highest number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals was around 142,000 just under a year ago, according to reports by the US media. The record is also attributed to the rapid spread of the Omikron variant.

It is also tight in the intensive care units in the USA: More than 80 percent of the almost 81,000 beds there are now occupied. Almost 24,000 of these beds are occupied by Covid 19 patients.

CDC health director Rochelle Walensky said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the omicron variant “is driving the case numbers to unprecedented heights here in the United States and around the world.”

The CSU regional group in the Bundestag is catching up on its exam, which has been postponed due to several corona cases, at the beginning of February. A spokesman confirmed a report by “Münchner Merkur” on Tuesday, according to which the meeting will now take place on February 2nd and 3rd in Berlin. Friedrich Merz, who is to be elected as the new CDU party leader at the end of January, is invited as the main guest.

The exam was actually planned for the beginning of January. Corona infections in several members of the state group thwarted the plans at short notice. Among them was CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt. The motto of the exam should remain “Aufbruch22”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that more than 50 percent of the population in Europe could become infected with the omicron virus variant in the next six to eight weeks. In the first week of the new year, there were more than seven million newly reported Covid-19 cases in Europe, which more than doubled within two weeks, said the European Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Hans Kluge.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 45,690 new corona infections in Germany on Tuesday. That’s 15,129 cases, or around 50 percent more than a week ago when 30,561 positive tests were reported. The nationwide seven-day incidence rose to 387.9 from 375.7 the previous day. The value indicates how many people per 100,000 inhabitants have been infected with the corona virus in the past seven days.

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