Rising Corona Numbers: Back to Free Tests?

Status: 07.11.2021 6:54 a.m.

The abolition of free corona tests in October was intended as a vaccination incentive. However, experts now doubt the effectiveness of the measure and are calling for it to be withdrawn. The seven-day incidence increases to 191.5, according to the RKI.

In view of the increasing number of corona infections, there are increasing voices calling for the reintroduction of free test offers. The President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe: “The expiry of the assumption of costs for corona citizen tests has apparently not motivated people who are unwilling to be vaccinated.” The federal and state governments should have the courage to correct this wrong decision quickly and consistently.

Especially in the cold season with many indoor leisure activities, low-threshold, free test offers are needed again to slow the spread of the virus. “The new regulation must now come quickly, if possible with the amendment of the Infection Protection Act in mid-November,” demanded Reinhardt. On Saturday, Reinhardt also advocated a significant expansion of the 2G rule.

Free tests – but for whom?

Green parliamentary leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt also called for free citizen tests to be made available again as soon as possible. Compared to the Funke media group, she called the corona situation dramatic and called for action. In addition to free tests, she spoke out in favor of vaccination as a prerequisite for access to nursing homes, more protection at work and stricter rules also in leisure time: “We need clear, binding regulations for 2G in public life in the countries,” she said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst also pleaded for free corona tests – but only for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered. “The high numbers of infections among unvaccinated people are leading to more and more breakthroughs among those who have been vaccinated,” said the CDU politician of “Bild am Sonntag”. Free rapid tests for vaccinated and convalescent people would make it easier for people with little money to protect themselves and others without exposing the incentive to vaccinate.

Recently, among others, Greens boss Robert Habeck, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), the Federal Association of Doctors of the Public Health Service, the German Association of Cities and the Trade Association had spoken out in favor of free test offers for everyone.

Since October 11, corona rapid tests have only been free in Germany in exceptional cases. The federal government has stopped funding, and many test stations are now closed. The reason for the decision was that everyone now has the opportunity to protect themselves through a vaccination. Since then, free rapid tests have only been available for people who cannot be vaccinated, including children under the age of 12, as well as temporarily for 12 to 17 year olds and pregnant women.

Seven-day incidence rises to 191.5

The nationwide seven-day incidence has again increased significantly. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the seven-day incidence, i.e. the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week, at 191.5 in the morning. The previous day the incidence was 183.7, a week ago it was 149.4 (previous month: 62.6).

The health authorities in Germany reported 23,543 new corona infections to the RKI within one day. On Friday, the number of new infections had reached 37,120, a record since the beginning of the pandemic. A week ago the value was 16,887 infections. According to the new information, 37 deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours. A week ago there were 33 deaths. This increased the number of people who died with or with the involvement of a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 to 96,525. The RKI has counted 4,767,033 detected infections with Sars-CoV-2 since the beginning of the pandemic. The actual total number is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections are not detected.

The number of corona patients admitted to clinics per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days – the most important parameter for a possible tightening of the corona restrictions – was last stated by the RKI on Friday at 3.91 (Thursday: 3.73). With the indicator it must be taken into account that hospital admissions are sometimes reported with delay. A nationwide threshold value from when the situation can be viewed critically is not provided for the incidence of hospitalization, among other things because of large regional differences. The previous high was around 15.5 around Christmas time.


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