Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) expects the current increase in new corona infections to continue. One will now go “towards 10,000, 15,000 new infections per day”, but this was to be expected, he said on Wednesday. However, the government will not impose any new measures this week, but will continue to rely on “personal responsibility”. Should there be a further increase, the reintroduction of the mask requirement is possible.
However, no new steps are currently indicated: “We will not impose any new measures today,” said Rauch. “Because the situation in the hospitals is such that we have not noticed any dramatic change. We continue to rely on people wearing masks on their own responsibility where it is particularly appropriate” – for example indoors.
However, for the head of department, a comeback of the mask requirement is within the realm of possibility – provided there is a further increase in the number of infections and the experts in his company make a corresponding recommendation. The obligation was abolished in a situation “where it was quite possible”. But he had already said at the time that it would be observed.
In any case, after the summer, the minister expects this measure to be reintroduced fairly quickly: “In the autumn we can assume that we will have the mask again,” he said. “We assume that we can expect further waves in autumn and winter – across Europe.”
Rauch wants to avoid further drastic measures such as lockdowns. “After two years of the pandemic, it will be about getting into a mode of living with the virus, which also means getting out of a crisis mode a bit”. Nevertheless, it should be ensured “that vulnerable people are protected, but in any case in such a way that life with Covid is possible.” The current variant BA.4/BA.5 would allow this from the technical side.
After two years of the pandemic, one had to accept “collateral damage”, for example suicide rates had increased. “I’m also concerned with not only defining health as the absence of Covid – but how are the people, the children.” You will therefore operate a management “that primarily relies on self-responsibility, on personal responsibility”.
For the fall, Rauch expects that the BA.4/BA.5 variants will continue to be dominant, “it’s more manageable”. Although not “everything will be easy”, there is no sign of a highly contagious variant either. You might act with mask requirements and other settings. “But not with lockdowns and exit restrictions – I don’t see them at the moment.” However, in the course of the pandemic, one had learned not to rule anything out, he pointed out at the same time.
In any case, the minister continues to rely on vaccination: “We are preparing to get as many people as possible for a booster vaccination at least in August or September.” The “good news” is that you can build up good protection against serious illness within a week, said Rauch. A corresponding vaccination campaign is planned in the companies, the employee associations, in medical practices, health facilities and “right down to the communities and clubs”.