Should Germany get rid of Covid mandatory isolation?

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The current Covid infection protection laws expire on September 23rd. The German government plans to extend them – but it’s still not clear what they will contain. 

According to the German president of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, infection laws should allow for far-reaching measures to protect people against Covid.

“Anyone who categorically rules out measures such as contact restrictions or lockdowns from the outset has neither understood the meaning of the law nor grasped the seriousness of the situation,” Montgomery told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe on Wednesday.

“An infection protection law should open up opportunities (for measures) and save lives.”

Montgomery said the laws must contain a “toolbox” that politicians can draw from when the situation requires it.

“Whether the instruments are used later depends on the respective assessment of the situation,” he said. “But the fact that they are needed should be indisputable.”

Epidemiologist Hajo Zeeb, of the Leibnitz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland that tough restrictions depended on the infection situation.

“We only have to talk about a lockdown if new dangerous variants appear,” he said. Otherwise “such radical measures” are not needed for autumn and winter.

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Back in spring, mainly at the insistence of the liberal Free Democrats, who are part of the ruling coalition along with the Social Democrats and the Greens, Covid provisions in the Infection Protection Act were significantly relaxed.

They form the legal basis for measures in the states, and define possible instruments that politicians can use to control the pandemic. At the moment, only basic measures are in force across Germany, including mandatory masks on public transport.

The coalition is currently discussing future regulations. 

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Operators of clubs, which have been hit hard in the past years, are following the current debate “with the greatest concern”, said the General Manager of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga), Ingrid Hartges.

She warned that measures such as mandatory masks or rapid testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated people at major events should only be introduced if they are needed to contain the pandemic. “The decisive factor must be how dangerous a virus variant is and how high the hospitalisation rate is,” Hartges said.

Meanwhile, Munich-based expert Clemens Wendtner called for the possibility of prescribing the Covid-19 drug Paxlovid to at-risk groups as a precaution in view of the current relatively high infection figures.

It’s crucial to take Paxlovid early, said the head physician of infectious diseases at the Munich Clinic Schwabing.

“I am therefore of the opinion that people who belong to a vulnerable group should have the drug in their cupboard at home,” he said.

On Wednesday the incidence stood at 740.1 Covid infections per 100,000 people in seven days. There were 140,999 Covid infections reported in the latest 24 hour period and 136 deaths.