German Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has defended the decision that Corona citizenship tests will no longer be free of charge from this Monday. "Fairness" to the taxpayer dictates that money be charged for the tests again, Spahn told the newspapers of the Funke media group. In the meantime, he said, everyone had been able to be vaccinated for whom this was recommended.
"Therefore, as of Monday, citizen tests will only be free for those for whom there is no recommended vaccination," Spahn said. These are especially children and adolescents, he said. Tests in nursing homes, hospitals, schools or at work, however, will continue to be free of charge, he added. The SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach argued similarly. He assumes that more people will now be vaccinated.
However, there was also criticism of the move. The doctors' union Marburger Bund fears an increase in the number of infections. "Paid corona tests will lead to fewer people with symptoms getting tested in the future," chairwoman Susanne Johna told RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. "This is a gateway for further transmission of the virus." Making matters worse, she added, is the lack of clarity about the exact vaccination rate.
After the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently had to correct its figures significantly upwards - it now states the vaccination rate at around 80 percent instead of the previous 65 percent - politicians from the FDP and the Green Party have accused the authority of a lack of distance from the federal government and expressed their dissatisfaction with the head of the institute, Lothar Wieler. With Wieler there is "no trace of error insight", said the FDP health politician Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus to the newspaper Bild. Wieler was "too close to the line of the federal government." The Green politician Dieter Janecek criticized that other countries "do not know such problems with the recording of the vaccination rate".
Meanwhile, the German Patient Protection Foundation called on the federal and state governments to ensure that regulations for tests in nursing homes are uniform. In addition to staff, residents should not be left out of the picture. "Ultimately, it is important to ensure that the 900,000 nursing home residents can be visited without hindrance," Eugen Brysch of the foundation's board of directors told the Evangelischer Pressedienst in Dortmund on Sunday. He added that many inpatient facilities basically required visitors to provide certified negative proof. "But there is no binding testing obligation on the part of the facilities for visitors."
Photo by Mufid Majnun