BPK: Spahn appeals to be vigilant

Federal press conference on the corona rise: For the autumn and winter, the government and experts appeal to all German citizens to pay attention together. Because the further development is not certain

Health Minister Jens Spahn appeals to the population: "It is up to all of us whether we can make it."

© Laif / Hans Christian Plambeck

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has called for vigilance and rapid countermeasures on site in view of the sharply increasing number of corona infections in order to keep the situation under control. The recent increase to more than 4,000 new infections within one day is worrying, said the CDU politician on Thursday in Berlin.

It is important to prevent that, with faster growth, there will be a moment "where we lose control". Spahn emphasized: "We're not there yet." It now comes down to the balance of confidence and mindfulness. This also affects all citizens - when observing protective rules such as distance and masks as well as being careful when celebrating.

"Character test for us as a society"

"It's up to all of us whether we can make it," said Spahn. "If 80 million join in, the chances of the virus drop dramatically." This pandemic is also "a character test for us as a society" that can only be passed together. In the cold season, ventilation and a wide range of uses of the Corona warning app are also important. There is now more knowledge and tools for fighting the virus. The number of deaths and intensive care patients in the clinics is currently still comparatively low.

The President of the federally owned Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, also emphasized: "The current situation worries me very much." One cannot know how the situation in Germany will develop in the next few weeks. "It is possible that we are seeing more than 10,000 new cases a day. It is possible that the virus is spreading uncontrollably." But he hoped that a level could be maintained that could be dealt with. The aim is to allow as few infections as possible. Then the health system will not be overloaded and only then will many difficult courses be prevented.

New high since April

As the RKI announced on Thursday, the health authorities reported 4058 new corona infections in the previous 24 hours. That is more than 1200 than on Wednesday. With 2828 new infections, a new high had been reported since April. The last time it was higher than now was in the first week of April. Spahn explained that at the moment it was mainly younger people who were infected - but not only. The younger ones in particular often considered themselves inviolable. "But they are not." Covid-19 is still a serious disease.

Spahn expressed understanding for Corona requirements for vacation trips within Germany in the autumn. For acceptance, however, it is important that the framework of the countries is as uniform as possible. Rapid containment of outbreaks in affected communities is crucial. This is "the much better option" than subsequent bans on accommodation.

The majority of the countries decided on Wednesday that travelers from areas with very high numbers of infections could only be accommodated if they had a negative corona test that was no more than 48 hours old. This should take effect for travelers from areas with more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.

Parties in the middle of the pandemic of the century - does that have to be?

Spahn turned against speaking of a possible "second lockdown". This suggests that one would be in a position from March / April again. However, there is now experience of how normal operations can be achieved with protective measures in many areas. There are no outbreaks when shopping, at hairdressers and hardly any in local transport. In schools, too, things are generally well under control.

Celebrations and events are critical. It is right if cities like Berlin take countermeasures with alcohol restrictions. But controls are also necessary and fines are imposed.

"We have it together," said Spahn. Organizers as well as invited should ask themselves whether a large wedding celebration has to be "in the middle of this pandemic of the century". Services can be held at a distance or close together in a small space. Spahn was skeptical about demands for traffic light displays of the infection process. This suggests that there is an automatic response, but outbreak cases are more complex.

The minister confirmed that rapid tests should also be used from mid-October, especially in nursing homes and clinics. A federal participation in contracts will initially secure up to nine million rapid tests per month for the German market. The German Foundation for Patient Protection also demanded complete contact documentation. "This is the only way to understand which person in need of care or patient had to do with staff and visitors when and where," said board member Eugen Brysch. "Rapid tests are useful if they provide reliable results."