Dealing with the omicron variant: politicians are looking for a strategy

Status: 01/21/2022 5:25 p.m

The rapid spread of the omicron variant is increasingly threatening to become a stress test for the infrastructure. How to react to the situation? There are different approaches in politics.

By Jonas Pospesch, ARD Capital Studio

One thing is clear: the health authorities are hopelessly overwhelmed by the many infections. It has long been impossible to trace the contacts of all infected people. Berlin’s Senator for Health, Ulrike Gote, doesn’t think that’s necessary. in the rbb she advocated a different approach.

In the meantime, it is about really only pursuing those who work with vulnerable groups, according to the Green politician. “So people who work with people over 60 years of age, with people in nursing homes, in hospitals, people with previous illnesses.” It is important for them to trace the contact persons. “But with many other groups it’s not.”

Corona number explosion

Anke Hahn, ARD Berlin, daily news 5:00 p.m., January 21, 2022

Giffey advocates a new test strategy

For Gote’s boss, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey, this change is one of three pillars for dealing with the Omicron variant. The other two are the quarantine rules that have already been changed and a new test strategy, the SPD politician explained in the ZDF-Show “Maybrit Illner”.

That means: prioritizing the PCR tests on the vulnerable areas, on the cancer wards or on the old people’s and nursing homes. “And otherwise, reliable rapid antigen tests are needed, which are then also recognized as proof of recovery and by employers. “For this, a new test regulation is needed,” says Giffey. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to present a draft for this regulation at the weekend.

Söder is toying with relaxing the measures

Her Bavarian colleague Markus Söder was in the same talk round as Giffey. He could imagine relaxing the corona measures again despite the high numbers. Because if the omicron variant actually has a higher infection rate or a milder course, one has to ask oneself whether the current management “with major interventions in people’s freedom” is justified. Then it must be decided “whether it is still effective and whether we should not go a different way,” said the CSU politician.

Unlike Söder, Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil looks at the situation. He does not want to relax or tighten the measures. Because the hospitals are not yet too heavily burdened despite the high number of infections, said the SPD politician ARD morning magazine:

We’re dealing with a new opponent, so you have to adjust your strategy a bit. For me that means: We must not let the pandemic slip away, which is why we need further precautionary measures. But we don’t have to go back into a total lockdown now, even on numbers we didn’t know before. Fortunately, the situation has changed.

Because worries about the vaccination rate

Weil, on the other hand, is very concerned about the pace of vaccination. According to Omikron, the virus will not be gone. Germany may then have to deal with new virus variants. “If we seriously want to protect ourselves, then we really need a very high vaccination rate in society as a whole, and we won’t be able to do that at the pace we are now,” said Weil. It is noticeable that the vaccination dynamics have decreased significantly in the new year. “And that’s really bad, we’re making a mistake.”

Giffey, Weil and Söder will discuss which steps are right now in the pandemic with their colleagues and Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Prime Ministers’ Conference on Monday. According to Weil, how controversial or harmonious that will be is just as unpredictable as the corona pandemic itself.

“Don’t let the pandemic slip away” – Voices on the Corona situation

Jonas Pospesch, ARD Berlin, 21.1.2022 · 16:19

Leave a Comment