In Corona model regions, there should be easing with a strict test strategy. The plans for this in the federal states are very different. A virologist warns of too much euphoria.
Testing instead of lockdown: That is the idea behind the model projects that are now to be gradually implemented across Germany. In a spatially and temporally limited framework, easing should be implemented with a strict test strategy. The federal and state governments had decided on this project at the most recent Corona summit, in some federal states there were already plans beforehand.
An experiment has been running in Tübingen since March 15, which is now intended to serve as a model for many other regions. People can shop there, go to the theater and visit the outdoor restaurants if they can show a negative quick test.
Virologist warns of too much euphoria
The virologist Markus Scholz from the University of Leipzig sees these projects positively, but he also warns: “Such projects are very well suited for low-incidence phases, not for high-incidence phases”. The rapid tests have a sensitivity of 80 percent, which means that one in five infected people is not recognized. “So if there are many infected people, many slip through,” explains Scholz.
In addition, it must be clear that although rapid tests are an important component in pandemic management, they cannot be a panacea. He also warns against too much euphoria: The number of new infections is currently increasing exponentially, and the testing and vaccination strategy is now too late to catch it. “So we will have further increasing numbers if we stick to the measures that we currently have. The model projects will not change anything,” says Scholz.
This is what the federal states are planning:
Numerous municipalities and cities have already expressed interest in the past few days. The individual federal states regulate the implementation. You can read what is currently planned here:
In Hesse, several municipalities want to apply, including Hesse’s largest city, Frankfurt, but also Fulda in East Hesse or Büdingen in the Wetterau district. Frankfurt, for example, is planning a model project “under the leadership of the health department and with scientific support in selected cultural, event and catering establishments in a limited area”. Culture and events could take place there again – “with the usual hygiene standards currently in force, with negative rapid tests at entry and digital contact person tracking,” announced the city.
From April 6th – the Tuesday after the holidays – cinemas, fitness studios and outdoor restaurants are to open again throughout the state. A daily negative rapid test is a prerequisite. Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) defended the often criticized opening plans. The aim is to offer an incentive for a corona test, “namely maybe to go out to eat ice cream in a marketplace or do sport in a club with a few people”. With a particularly large number of tests, infected people should then be discovered and quarantined, thus avoiding new infections.
Health Minister Klaus Holetschek announced that he would select eight model regions next week. “We will select the cities in the Ministry of Health on the basis of certain parameters. The interest is very high,” said Holetschek. So far there are no stipulations, except that there should be one city per administrative district, two from Upper Bavaria. According to the government statement by Prime Minister Markus Söder, the cities that have a seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants between 100 and 150 are generally eligible.
Numerous cities, including Munich, Würzburg and Coburg, had already registered their interest. Holetschek emphasized that the selection does not only include those who apply independently. It would also look to see which regions are otherwise suitable.
Saxony had already included model projects in its ordinance before the Corona summit. Two tourist model projects could start soon: Oberwiesenthal and Augustusburg are expected to open to guests from April 1st. The state government gave the green light for the model project, said the mayor of Augustusburg, Dirk Neubauer (SPD), last Tuesday. The project will be scientifically supported and should show how openings are possible under pandemic conditions. All guests will probably have to complete a daily corona test. According to estimates, 600 to 1,000 overnight guests could be entertained in Oberwiesenthal every day, it said.
After Easter, Rhineland-Palatinate wants to test cautious steps out of lockdown in some model regions. Municipalities with a seven-day incidence of less than 50 could apply, announced Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD). The cities of Koblenz and Neuwied have already expressed interest.
“We want all of thisT-supported make “, Dreyer continued. The state relies on the free Luca app. The regions that want to participate need health authorities that use the Sormas system and the interface to Luca for contact tracking the retail trade makes sure that the hygiene measures adopted are observed, “said Dreyer. In the event of abuse, high fines are imposed.” We want to rely on the principle that the effort is worthwhile! “
The state government is currently working on a new state ordinance in which the provisions for model regions are also laid down. It is already clear that the state would like to use the “Luca” app. Together with other federal states, the country is negotiating the use of the app, said the deputy head of the state government’s Corona crisis team, Claudia Schröder, on Thursday. Contracts for using the app should be concluded by the end of March at the latest.
The State Chancellery did not disclose details when t-online asked, the details are currently still in the vote. The new regulation will be published on the weekend and will come into force on Monday. Only then can municipalities officially apply. Numerous cities and municipalities have already expressed their interest.
The state government wants to appoint model regions in the next few days that can relax the restrictions after Easter. The regions can apply for various programs in the fields of culture, sports and tourism, as a spokesman for the state chancellery told t-online.
From April 12th, outdoor catering should also be allowed to open nationwide if the seven-day incidence in the respective region is below 100.
The state government will advise on Friday how to implement the decision of the Corona summit. Results are expected “sometime late in the evening,” as the state government spokesman announced on request.
The state ordinance already provides for model tests if the incidence in a municipality is stable below 35. In the largest city of Rostock, for example, the football club Hansa Rostock played in a pilot project last weekend in front of 777 spectators who had previously been tested with quick tests.
The state government wants to make the model tests legally possible and define the requirements for the applications. As a spokesman told t-online, “the incidence value over a certain period of time” will certainly be an aspect. It can take until Monday until there is a final prescription.
Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) has announced an experimental clause, according to which model projects should be possible in restaurants, sports and culture, for example. The new state regulation will be initiated by the state government in the coming days. It is planned that it will be published on Friday. It should come into force on Monday. Saxony-Anhalt has many applications, said Haselhoff in the “early start” of RTL and ntv. “It has to be armed after Easter.”
The three independent cities of Magdeburg, Halle and Dessau-Roßlau also have the opportunity for events with a maximum of 100 spectators each, as State and Culture Minister Rainer Robra (CDU) said. The projects should not last longer than five to seven days. One of the prerequisites is that the seven-day incidence in the respective city does not exceed the 200 mark at the time of the start. With the model projects, which should later also be made possible in rural areas, one wants to carefully grope and gain experience, said Robra.
The state government had already included model regions in the state ordinance before the Prime Minister’s Conference. Accordingly, projects that do not exceed a duration of five days can be approved. The incidence value in the region must also be below 100.
In Weimar, shops and museums are to be opened from Monday to Wednesday in the coming week. Guests must have a current negative corona test. For contact tracking, the museum relies on the Luca app and on paper slips made available by the city.
After Easter, the corona restrictions will be relaxed in selected model communities coupled with an I.T-supported Introduce test concept. The temporary model projects are to be implemented in five to six cities and districts, said Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU). The prerequisites are completely negative Corona test results and I.T systems for contact tracking.
Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann denied a media report according to which the state had already selected Aachen, the Warendorf district, Winterberg and Cologne for Corona easing.
The “Open with Security” project has been running in the city of Tübingen since March 15th. Cinemas, theaters and restaurants with outdoor areas are currently open again. To make this possible, rapid test stations were introduced across the board. Mayor Boris Palmer has so far drawn a cautiously positive balance. “So far we have 16 days in which the incidence has not increased in Tübingen,” says the Green politician t-online. An actual assessment can only be made after Easter. Then the first evaluations of the accompanying scientific study will be published “According to numerous other municipalities have applied as a model city.
There are no specific plans in the city-state. “Currently we are more concerned with probably having to pull the emergency brake,” says a spokesman for the Senate Chancellery t-online. However, there is great sympathy for the project. In due course, the Senate will therefore sit down with representatives from culture, sport and business.
There are still no concrete plans in Hamburg either. A Sentas spokesman told t-online that the first thing to do is to “slow down and stabilize the infection dynamics.” Nevertheless, the city is in an exchange with several cultural institutions in order to prepare the implementation of pilot projects. “At the moment we cannot say when implementation will be possible.”
The Berlin Senate wants to discuss how to proceed on Saturday. The governing mayor Michael Müller already emphasized in his government statement that testing opens up new possibilities so that one does not have to react exclusively with restrictive measures.