The third wave has reached Germany in the corona pandemic. Health Minister Spahn and RKI boss Lothar Wieler are now back to answer questions. Follow the press conference live now.
The health authorities reported more than again to the Robert Koch Institute 21,000 new infections, the incidence in Germany is 119. 183 people have died from or with the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. Now Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn and RKI boss Lothar Wieler comment on the current developments.
Follow the press conference above in the live stream or via the t-online live ticker:
11.02 a.m.: What makes you optimistic that it will not be a permanent state because of the mutations?
Spahn: One would always put a comparable ratio through tests. The transmission of whether it is a PCR test for which a rapid test was previously positive is not yet running optimally.
You can now see that there are differences due to the technology of the vaccines. “The assumption of many scientists is that it is not enough to be vaccinated once in a lifetime.” Nevertheless, Spahn is confident that one can cope better and better with knowledge.
Wieler: There are colleagues who believe that you might have to vaccinate every six months. “We don’t know that yet.” It is very likely that the vaccine will have to be adjusted.
11 a.m.: Daycare centers and schools close again? When will vaccine for children come?
Spahn: “If you don’t want to close daycare centers and schools, you have to protect them.” It is essential that a test offer is available twice a week.
Spahn: There are studies on effectiveness in children from almost all vaccine manufacturers. “They’re running, how fast there are results? May take months or next year.” As soon as there is a vaccine, it should be available quickly.
Wieler: If there is a good amount of data, it could also be approved.
10:58 a.m.: It doesn’t work without lockdown? How does the RKI boss imagine that?
Wieler: “We had a lockdown that deserves the name in spring 2020.” That was also the most effective. Like last year.
10:56 a.m.: 100,000 new infections possible every day? Testing in the workplace is still not mandatory. That’s right?
Wieler: He addresses everyone with his appeals. Also employers, who are also citizens.
“Yes, 100,000 new infections every day are conceivable,” says the RKI boss. Every model is a helpful model to see what works. Until the immunity through vaccinations is there.
10:53 a.m.: France planned as a high incidence area?
Spahn: There is a weekly process where everything is looked at in detail on the basis of numbers. “How is the trend? How are the developments?” Then a recommendation or a decision is justified based on this. If the numbers do not go down in France, it could come to that. “But I don’t want to get ahead of it.”
10:50 a.m.: Difference to last year?
Wieler: Virus variants have different biological properties. Data suggest that there is a 30 to 70 percent higher contagion. The variant ensures that the disease progresses worse. That was not the case last year. There could also be other variants in the future. “Need to vaccinate as soon as possible to have immunity in the population.”
10:45 am: Resolutions of the Chancellor and Prime Minister, Saarland does it differently, Berlin does not pull the emergency brake. What do you make of it?
Spahn: “The emergency brake must be pulled consistently from an incident of 100.” That must be implemented.
Quick tests for flights from Germany – is that enough?
Wieler: “The rapid test is better than no test at all”, even if the PCR test is more precise. He hoped that this would also lead to fewer people traveling. “Travel and contacts are the drivers of this pandemic.”
10.40 a.m.: Corona warning app hardly plays a role anymore? Only 12 percent reported infections?
Spahn looks into his cell phone and reads out the numbers that are displayed to him. “Sure, more would be even better. But you can find all this data in the app.” The basic idea in the app is the anonymous. No data is stored, so the app cannot make any difference to the work of the health authorities. About ten million test results were communicated via the app.
Wieler: “The Corona warning app is an important tool.” It is said again and again that this or that does not work. But it is an interplay of many tools that are important in the fight against the pandemic. The pandemic strategy has been adjusted again and again since January 2020.
10:36 a.m.: Test strategy for schools, daycare centers and vacationers. And for students?
Spahn: Ideally there would be one. Wherever it is possible with hygiene concepts and can be tested, this is of course possible.
10:35 a.m.: Rising case numbers, regions start relaxation models. Political control abandoned?
Spahn: That is intended so that it can be relaxed if the incidence is low. So be it agreed. Testing alone won’t get the pandemic under control. The idea of the model regions is based on a low incidence.
“The challenge in the pandemic is also to find a nationwide way.”
10.30 a.m.: Question: Uninoculated vaccination doses. Is there an explanation? Draw seven doses from a Biontech ampoule?
Spahn: “I’m in favor of getting a seventh vaccination from the bottle wherever possible.” About vaccination doses: What is delivered on Monday cannot be vaccinated on Tuesday. The discrepancy is of course growing bigger and bigger. There is also some delay in reporting. The most important thing is then the vaccination, because “paperwork” is sometimes left lying around. Some vaccinations from January are now reported. “The part is to be considered.” The resolution is also important. “Make vaccinations even more flexible,” promises Spahn. All over 70-year-olds could now get a vaccination appointment for the weekend, that’s okay.
Even the USA does not have a significantly higher level of contamination in terms of the timing. “The regulation makes pragmatism possible”, which exists in Germany. Spahn also told the health minister that stocks should be reduced.
10:22 am: Now the question and answer session begins. Doesn’t it have to be decided on additional measures?
Spahn: “We may have exceeded this limit. That is why the emergency brake is so important.” It must be implemented consistently. Just because there are now no Easter days off, one still has to act with caution. “We all together make the crucial difference.” State measures alone would not solve the problem. “An increasing number say yes, they would like more restrictions.”
Wieler: There are several aspects to consider. If you put infection protection in the foreground, you could also avoid more infections. But now it has been decided to include other aspects as well. In a few months there will be a better situation, thanks to the vaccinations. “We’re going to have a publication next week where we try to make predictions.” Wieler thinks the pandemic can be controlled this year.
10:20 am: Wieler: “Without the care of everyone around us, we would be in a completely different situation.” He calls for Easter to be spent only with the closest family. Looking back on the past year, it is also clear: “We have more knowledge, so we can protect ourselves better.” On April 4, 2020, it was decided to wear masks. Today you can see that that helps.
10.18 am: Wieler: “If you have cold symptoms, stay at home, call a doctor,” he appeals. “Take the test results seriously too.” Time is a crucial factor in fighting the pandemic. Wieler also calls again to get vaccinated if you have an offer.
“Mustn’t ignore the other tools.” Rapid tests, self-tests, contact reduction, AHA rules. “Vaccinations are the safest tool”, but the hygiene concepts must also continue to be adhered to.
10.15 a.m.: RKI boss Wieler: The virus variant is more contagious, more dangerous and more difficult to contain. “There are clear signs that this wave is getting worse.” If you don’t take massive countermeasures now, the effects are devastating. All age groups are severely affected.
Increasing case numbers will lead to more patients to be treated in the hospital. “We have to expect increases.” One can no longer prevent the wave, but one can try to mitigate the consequences. “The fewer people you meet, the lower the risk of infection.”
10.13 a.m.: Spahn: You can’t celebrate Easter the way you want yet. “The goal is visible, but still a long way off.” Every further step weighs like an ordeal. The point now is not to gamble away important steps. “We still have to hold out the last few meters and kilometers together.”
10:12 am: Spahn: “A bridge needs to be built, and testing helps.” Everyone can get tested at least once a week. “I can only encourage you to do that too.” Within a short time, an almost nationwide test offer was created. The tests are also to be used more strategically in the future, combined with opening steps.
The aim is to test as many as possible in schools and day care centers and also in companies and to link certain opening steps to them. “That will mean that a large part of the population will be tested twice a week.”
10:08 a.m.: Spahn: Everyone from the second vaccination group should now be included. “Vaccination appointments are too valuable to let them expire. You also need creative solutions, such as standby lists.”
Most importantly, no vaccine is left unvaccinated longer than necessary. Outbreaks in nursing homes have decreased significantly, currently there are fewer than 20 per week and also with less severe courses. “But we’re not there yet.”
10:05 am: Spahn: “At the moment the numbers are increasing too quickly, the virus variants make the situation dangerous.” You can already see increasing numbers of intensive care patients. There is again the risk that the health system will be overloaded. “There may be an increasing number of deaths again.” He wanted to ask citizens when they meet others, “then please only outside. If so, then in smaller groups and ideally only outside.”
Over ten percent of Germans are vaccinated at least once. 15 million vaccine doses are expected in April. “It will improve week after week.” The effect of the vaccination is diminished by the increasing numbers. “All international figures show that the higher the incidence, the lower the vaccination effect.”
10.03 a.m.: Spahn: The entry regulations come into effect on Monday night. Airlines should be given more time for the implementation, which is why the date has been postponed again. “Those who do not have a negative test will not be taken,” Spahn affirmed again.
10 a.m .: The press conference begins.
9:58 a.m.: The press conference will begin in a few minutes.