Corona: Lauterbach restricts corona citizen tests – politics


The Federal Ministry of Health seems to be gradually preparing for the end of the pandemic. A planned change in the test regulation, which should come into force this week, fits in with this. A draft of the paper circulated in Berlin on Tuesday. And the result of this is that the range of citizen tests is to be gradually reduced.

Accordingly, free corona tests remain possible until the end of February 2023. As before, visitors to clinics and nursing homes, medical staff and people who want to test themselves after surviving a corona infection in order to end their isolation are entitled to these offers.

What is to be dropped, however, are the so-called three-euro tests: This offer was intended for citizens who wanted to be tested before attending an event, for example. They had to pay three euros for this, and the federal government bore the rest of the costs. Hardly anyone is said to have used the offer recently – which is probably due to the easy availability of cheap self-tests.

According to the Federal Minister of Health, the state should continue to carry out the tests for staff in medical facilities and for visitors to clinics and care facilities Karl Lauterbach (SPD) protect vulnerable groups. “This winter, too, we have to protect patients and those in need of care from corona infection in particular,” said Lauterbach on Tuesday.

The FDP had recently campaigned loudly for an end to the citizen test, also with reference to the enormous costs. According to Lauterbach’s plans, they shouldn’t be eliminated, but they should be significantly reduced – also through lower remuneration for the companies that carry out the tests. It can be assumed that “the need for advice and discussion within the population” in connection with corona tests has decreased, according to the draft. Therefore, the effort involved in conducting the tests is reduced and a lower fee is appropriate.

In concrete terms, the costs for the federal government arising from the test implementation are to be reduced from currently up to seven to up to six million euros per million tests. Material costs are reduced from 2.5 million to two million euros for the same number of tests. The total savings are not quantified in the draft because the number of tests depends heavily on the further development of the pandemic and the demand of the population.

The reduction in the number of tests is not the first measure taken by the Federal Ministry of Health in response to the fact that the number of infections has not risen dramatically this autumn, contrary to fears to the contrary. It had already become known on Monday that the facility-related compulsory vaccination should expire at the end of the year. Since mid-March, this had obliged employees of clinics and care facilities to take a stand against the Coronavirus to be vaccinated, and sometimes led to severe social tensions.

However, the Federal Minister of Health wants to maintain other precautionary measures throughout the winter: According to the ministry, nothing should change in the obligation to wear masks on buses and trains – relaxation does not correspond to the pandemic situation at all. The Federal Minister of Health does not support an end to the isolation requirement for people infected with corona, which four federal states have already decided.



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