Buschmann promises that masks will be compulsory in autumn

Sun 17th Jul, 2022

Photo by Dennis RochelThe federal government's concept for the Corona Autumn is likely to include "some form of mandatory masks," according to Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann. "The effectiveness of masks for individuals indoors is indisputable," the FDP politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

"That's why some form of mandatory masks indoors will certainly play a role in our concept. After all, we are already working with mask obligations in local public transport," Buschmann continued.At the same time, certain far-reaching interventions are out of the question for the traffic light coalition, according to him: "We agree in the coalition that there will be no more lockdowns, no blanket school closures and no curfews." Those, he said, are "inappropriate tools in the third year of the pandemic.

Buschmann is currently negotiating with German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) about the Corona measures, which should be possible in principle in the future. This is because the legal basis for the now severely restricted basic measures expires in September. At the same time, a renewed sharp rise in the number of infections is feared in the colder months of the year.

On Saturday morning, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported the nationwide seven-day incidence at 752.7. The previous day, the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week had been 719.2 (previous week: 700.3).

However, experts have been assuming for some time that there is a high number of cases not recorded by the RKI - mainly because by far not all infected people have a PCR test done. Only positive PCR tests count in the statistics. In addition, subsequent reports or transmission problems can lead to a distortion of individual daily values.

Health authorities in Germany last reported 123,046 new Corona infections (previous week: 95,919) and 134 deaths (previous week: 104) to the RKI within one day. Comparisons of the data are again only possible to a limited extent due to testing behavior, subsequent reports or transmission problems.

While Lauterbach had already spoken out in favor of mandatory masks indoors, Buschmann had still been cautious last month, saying he first wanted to wait for an expert report on the Corona measures that has since become available.The justice minister warned that "what awaits us in the fall and winter" must be taken very seriously. As for the roadmap, he said, "I'm confident that we'll have a concept by the end of the month, which we'll then discuss with the states in August, and in September we'll bring the amendment to the Infection Protection Act through parliament."

The justice minister announced that he would create "clear and understandable rules." As further benchmarks, he cited that the measures help demonstrably - and that the rules are "protective of fundamental rights, i.e., proportionate."

Buschmann also held out the prospect of an "ambitious vaccination campaign," especially in retirement and nursing homes. In addition, the traffic light ensures that "the best and most modern vaccines" are available in time. To assess the Corona situation, he relies on a "bundle of indicators."

To him, it is very important "that we finally get improved data from the hospitals." Incidence has lost much of its significance, he says. For example, wastewater testing for coronavirus could also help better predict waves of infection. "The data-blind approach has to end."Meanwhile, there was further criticism of Health Minister Lauterbach, who had campaigned for second booster vaccinations on a broader front - not just among the elderly aged 60 or 70 and older. The CSU health politician Stephan Pilsinger therefore accused the Social Democrat in the "Augsburger Allgemeine" of scaring and confusing the population.

"Such a statement against the recommendations of the technically competent Standing Commission on Vaccination and the European Medicines Agency is a slap in the face for all those who believe in comprehensible evidence-based pandemic policy," he told editorial network Germany. To both editorial offices, Pilsinger spoke of a "stimulus package for the lateral thinking movement."

Lauterbach had said that if one wanted to enjoy the summer without the risk of falling ill, he would recommend a fourth vaccination - "in consultation, of course, with the family doctor" - even to younger people. The Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) recommends a second booster so far only for over-70s and some other risk groups.

Lauterbach defended his campaign for more second booster vaccinations not only for the elderly from 60 or 70 years on Saturday via Twitter.The seven-day incidence would probably be 1500 to 2000 with unreported cases, he wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "Therefore, it is not wrong for me to recommend even younger people with very many contacts to consider the 4th vaccination after consulting with their family doctor. The 4th vaccination is better than the infection."

EU medical authorities had recently advocated for another booster starting at age 60. "Medical recommendations from politics should be made very cautiously," said the health policy spokesman of the FDP parliamentary group, Andrew Ullmann, the "Rheinische Post".

Photo by Dennis Rochel


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