“Stay the course” and remain cautious
The following still applies to vaccination, boosting and contact reduction measures: “stay the course”. This was emphasised by Federal Chancellor Scholz after his consultations with the Heads of Government of the Länder. He called on everyone to remain cautious. The Federal Chancellor also presented a new vaccination campaign.
Federal Chancellor Scholz and the Heads of Government of the Länder once again met to discuss the pandemic situation on Monday. Even though the “very strict contact restrictions” imposed had contributed to the predicted high infection rates not reaching Germany until now, and therefore “much later than many neighbouring countries”, it was still true “that we must remain cautious”, the Federal Chancellor emphasised.
“Stay the course”: existing measures still apply
The current course must be maintained, Federal Chancellor Scholz stressed. For this reason, the Federal and Länder Governments agreed to continue to consistently apply the existing measures such as contact reductions and access restrictions – as are currently in place in numerous shops, restaurants and events, for example.
The Council of Experts previously recommended that the Federal Government maintain the existing measures in Germany and continue to implement them strictly.
“Vaccination helps”: vaccination campaign to be intensified
The Federal and Länder Governments also agreed to intensify the vaccination campaign. The Federal Chancellor and the Heads of Government of the Länder are once again calling on all citizens to get a booster vaccination, three months after their second vaccination. Those who have not yet been vaccinated at all should now do so right away.
Communication on vaccination is to be strengthened with a newly launched vaccination campaign under the motto “Vaccination helps”. Germany had come a long way in terms of vaccination numbers, but not far enough, said Federal Chancellor Scholz, adding that the aim was to increase the number of booster vaccinations as well as the number of first and second vaccinations.
Other conference resolutions
The Federal and Länder Governments agreed on the following measures:
In future, PCR tests are to be made available particularly to vulnerable groups and to workers who care for them and treat them. This mainly includes staff at hospitals, surgeries, care facilities, institutions working in the area of integration assistance and those at risk of contracting COVID-19 severely.
What is more, the contact tracing carried out by public health offices is to be prioritised in future. The exact regulations will be elaborated by the Ministers of Health together with the Robert Koch Institute. At the same time, the Federal Chancellor and the Heads of Government are asking citizens to act responsibly in case of illness – i.e. inform contacts and use the Corona-Warn-App.
Due to the scarcity of PCR tests and based on new findings on disease progression involving the Omicron variant, the quarantine and isolation rules are to be changed for employees at hospitals, care facilities and institutions working in the area of integration assistance. In future, it will also be possible for them to be tested to be released after seven days based on a negative certified lateral flow test. In order to be tested to be released from isolation, the rule also now applies that the person must have been symptom-free for 48 hours beforehand.
In future, new regulations on vaccinated or recovered status are to be announced in good time before they come into force.
The Federal Government and the Länder intend to develop easing perspectives for when an overload of the health system can be ruled out.
The digitalisation of the health system is to be advanced. This was “one of the lessons of the pandemic”, said the Federal Chancellor. Here, the Federal Government’s Council of Experts submitted recommendations which the Conference of Health Ministers is to consider very soon.
On 16 February, the Federal and Länder Governments will meet again to discuss the current pandemic situation.