Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Spahn on the corona situation "That’s the last thing we can do now"

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The corona situation in Germany is getting worse, and a new virus variant was discovered in South Africa. Health Minister Spahn and RKI boss Wieler expressed concern. But there is good news.

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has urgently called for massive contact reductions in order to avert a corona catastrophe in Germany. “The situation is dramatically serious. As serious as at no point in this pandemic,” said the CDU politician on Friday in Berlin. One is in a “national emergency”. But too little happens, and often too late. “We have to stop this wave now,” warned Spahn. At the same time, he was concerned about the new variant of the coronavirus that had appeared in South Africa (B.1.1.529).

The aim must be to stop the spread of this variant as much as possible, said the acting health minister. “That is the last thing we can still need in our current situation, that an additional variant comes into the wave.” Spahn urged all people who have come to Germany from South Africa and the region in the past few days to be tested for the virus with a PCR test to be on the safe side. Read more here.

The President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, said: “Until half past ten I don’t know that this variant has so far been found in Europe or Germany.” At the same time, he emphasized: “We are very concerned. And I very much hope that there will be strict work to ensure that at least the spread of this variant is restricted as much as possible by travel restrictions.”

In some provinces of South Africa there are very steep increases in the number of infections. However, it must first be examined whether these are related to the new virus type. According to Spahn, it cannot yet be said whether the new variant will change the course of the disease or reduce the effectiveness of the corona vaccines.

    (Source: t-online) (Source: t-online)

With a view to the rapidly increasing number of infections, Wieler said: “I now expect the decision-makers to take all measures to bring the number of cases down together.” All contacts would have to be reduced as much as possible. “With every contact that we don’t have, with every meeting that we pass up, with every crowd that we avoid, we are helping to slow the spread of the virus.”

The RKI boss also paused briefly to commemorate the more than 100,000 corona deaths in Germany. He then asked: “What death rate would convince us that this is a serious illness? How many more people have to die for us to adjust our behavior?” He appealed to the citizens: “Please get vaccinated or refreshed. Please also adhere to all the measures decided in the federal states.”

Spahn criticized the fact that too many, even if they were politically responsible, thought it would be fine. However, the wave will “move further west and north” from the regions in the south and east of Germany, which have so far been severely affected. In the short term, only one thing makes the decisive difference, said Spahn: “The number of contacts has to go down, significantly down. It’s all of no use.” Specifically, he named consistent access rules only for vaccinated and convalescent people with an additional test (2G plus) and the cancellation of celebrations and major events. The fact that Christmas markets are still allowed in some federal states therefore causes a lack of understanding at Spahn: “That doesn’t fit the time.”

The best thing would be a Prime Minister’s conference with the federal government in the next few days, stressed Spahn. This is currently planned for December 9th. The minister complained that there are currently too many sidelines such as new vaccination requirements or new corona committees. It is now also necessary to postpone predictable operations in clinics. Within Germany, up to 100 intensive care patients would now have to be relocated to other hospitals at great expense. However, this is not unlimited.

According to Spahn, there is good news: “The vaccination campaign is picking up again.” There have been more than 300,000 vaccinations in the past three days. Two million booster vaccinations have already been given this week. “Every vaccination gives hope that this winter will not be as dark as it currently looks.”

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