Reacting swiftly during the pandemic
"We are currently at a critical phase of the pandemic. The situation is serious. The dynamics of the outbreak make it clear that we must be able to respond swiftly," judged Federal Health Minister, Jens Spahn. This is why the Cabinet has now adopted the draft of a third law to protect the population during an epidemic on a nationwide scale.
Preparing vaccinations, improving testing capacities
In future, vaccinations and tests are to be open not only to those with health insurance but also to those who have no health insurance. The Federal Ministry of Health is to be permitted to regulate remuneration and billing procedures. Provisions are also to be put in place that will make it possible to use veterinary laboratory capacities in addition to existing laboratory capacities to process the tests.
To ensure that the new point of care rapid tests are made available to the facilities that are to be given precedence under the new testing strategy, the ordinance on the provision of medical products (Medizinprodukteabgabenverordnung) is to be amended.
Support for working parents
Working parents, who suffer a loss of earnings as a result of having to look after their children at home when nurseries or schools are forced to close by the pandemic, have been entitled to time-limited compensation since March 2020. This entitlement is now to be extended until 31 March 2021. In future, parents who need to stay at home to look after a child who is quarantining will also be entitled to compensation.
Changes to regulations on travellers entering Germany
Another change: Anyone undertaking a non-essential trip to an area that was designated as a high-risk area (Risikogebiet) 48 hours prior to their departure, who is subsequently required to quarantine on their return to Germany, will no longer be entitled to compensation for loss of earnings as a result of having to quarantine.
A digital entry recording system is also to be put in place to register travellers entering Germany. This is to make it easier for the responsible authorities to monitor compliance with quarantine regulations following travel to a designated high-risk area (Risikogebiet).
In spring, the first and second laws to protect the population during an epidemic on a nationwide scale were passed. The bill adopted on Wednesday takes the legal framework to the next level. Experience gained in the course of the pandemic has made it necessary to amend the legislation.