Lauterbach wants to extend the Infection Protection Act

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) considers a revision and extension of the Infection Protection Act, which is still in force until September 23, to be unavoidable in view of an impending new corona wave in autumn. However, a new expert report expected for the end of June should first be awaited, said Lauterbach on Thursday on Deutschlandfunk. He also pushed for better data transmission by the hospitals.

“The Infection Protection Act must definitely be changed again, and above all it must be extended,” said the minister. Politicians have to adjust to possible new, more dangerous virus variants, even if there are no signs of this so far. However, the new version should only take place after the evaluation of the previous containment measures by independent experts, which is expected at the end of June. The FDP also calls for waiting for this to happen.

Lauterbach commented on the statement by the Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council on Wednesday. As the most likely variant, he named further spread of the BA.5 variant of the corona virus. Although this is more contagious, it is probably no more dangerous than the previously dominant omicron variants of the virus. Nevertheless, “if we let this go,” it could lead to three-digit deaths per day in the longer term.

Will the mask requirement indoors be reinstated in autumn?

With a view to the resistance of the FDP to new restrictions, Lauterbach said that there had never been “general restrictions on freedom” during the pandemic in Germany, only a lockdown at the very beginning, which was milder than in other countries. However, he does not want to speculate about options such as reintroducing mask requirements indoors or certain access restrictions in autumn. In any case, the goal is “to be able to react appropriately to the situation with as few restrictions on freedom as possible”.

Independent of the work on the new Infection Protection Act, new vaccination and test concepts are already being worked on, Lauterbach emphasized. In addition, it must be ensured “that we get the data from the hospitals much earlier”, as up-to-date as possible.

Lauterbach expects the expected new corona vaccines adapted to the Omicron variants “in September at the earliest”. However, he referred to “promising” data presented by the manufacturer Moderna. The government is also in contact with the manufacturer Biontech.

The number of corona cases in Germany had recently increased again. On Thursday morning, the so-called seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants was given by the Robert Koch Institute nationwide as 276.9. More than 77,000 new cases were registered within 24 hours.

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