Monday, November 29, 2021

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

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The corona situation is getting worse: Germany has classified South Africa as a virus variant area, a general lockdown is up for debate. Health Minister Spahn and RKI boss Wieler have now commented on this.

The federal government is concerned about the new virus variant in South Africa. In addition, calls for a general lockdown are growing louder. On Friday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a new high in new infections with more than 76,000 cases.

The acting Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) and RKI boss Lothar Wieler now commented on the development of the corona pandemic. Here you can read the most important statements in the t-online ticker:

10.06 a.m.: The press conference is over.

11.03 a.m.: Additional vaccination capacities are needed, says RKI boss Wieler. “And then we should do it.” The outrage that he felt about some of the statements made by the chairman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, he had never expressed, and he will not do that now. But he believes that everything must be done to save human lives. Other professional groups who could vaccinate would also have to be involved. For example, the involvement of dentists, pharmacists and nurses was discussed. This rejects KBV boss Gassen, who advocates that only doctors should give vaccinations.

10:56 a.m.: Is it true that there are delivery bottlenecks at Biontech and Moderna? The federal government will deliver 18 million booster doses within 10 days, says the executive health minister. “That means there is enough vaccine in the overall system,” says Spahn. In some cases, of course, there could be small delays due to logistics issues on site.

10.52 a.m.: Did the Stiko also lack staff and resources? The Stiko boss reported no additional staff requirements to him. “If that’s the case, I’ll call him later and talk to him about it,” says Spahn.

10.50 a.m.: When asked, Spahn replied: With regard to the Standing Vaccination Commission, consideration should be given to whether a different structure would be needed in the future for such a crisis situation in order to make faster decisions, says the Managing Minister of Health. He wanted to say that quite neutrally, without reproach.

10:48 a.m.: Did he also want such a pandemic stick, as the new government has now announced? This creates the impression that there are currently no crisis teams. That is not the case. There are quite a few committees “to coordinate things every day,” says Spahn. Therefore, this pandemic stick is not an innovation. With regard to the panel of experts, he takes a similar view. There is already extensive scientific advice available.

10.46 a.m. What does he say about the traffic light’s new infection protection law? “I have expressly advised against changing the catalog of measures,” says Spahn. “That shouldn’t have been, from my point of view.” But the new government must now face this responsibility.

10:42 am: Does he feel powerless? “We are acting,” says Spahn, referring to the decision to classify South Africa as a virus variant area. “The decisions that I can make, I make those too,” says Spahn. But it is indeed a special situation because he now does not have a majority in Parliament. At the moment he therefore “logically” has more of an advisory role in legislative terms.

10:40 a.m.: How does he assess the cooperation between the executive and the new government on this issue? There are different views and assessments of the situation, says Spahn. “I can only make suggestions,” says Spahn. “Only those who have a parliamentary majority can decide whether they will be accepted.” In the past few days, a lot of effort had been put into discussing compulsory vaccination. You could do anything, but it wouldn’t do anything to break the current wave.

10:38 a.m.: What specifically prevented you, Mr. Spahn, from taking more stringent measures? The concrete measures are to be taken in the federal states and municipalities, this has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic. He could not order any measures restricting contact himself.

10:34 a.m.: Do those who have been vaccinated and those who have already been boosted also have to do their part? “I expect everyone to adhere to the measures,” says RKI boss Wieler. “We want all people to help ensure that they behave cautiously.” Because even vaccinated people can still pass the virus on. That is why they too have to share the responsibility that solidarity is at stake. Three measures are now important: restrict contacts, all unvaccinated people should get vaccinated quickly, and as many boosters as possible. This must all happen in parallel. “Restrict contacts, please, in spite of everything,” appeals Wieler.

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