Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) wants to tighten the corona restrictions in his state. Ramelow said on Sunday in Erfurt that he had proposed to the cabinet that, following the example of Saxony, the range of movement of people in the Free State should be limited to 15 kilometers around their place of residence. In addition, Ramelow has announced an extension of the lockdown until January 31. Schools and daycare centers should also remain closed for this long. The Thuringian cabinet will make decisions on Tuesday after the federal-state talks.
Robert Koch Institute reports 238,000 recorded vaccinations
So far, more than 238,000 people in Germany have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. By Sunday (as of 8 a.m.) a total of 238 809 vaccinations had been reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Compared to the previous day, the number of vaccinated people recorded there rose by 40,665, as the RKI information shows. However, this number could also contain late registrations and does not reflect the number of people actually vaccinated on one day, emphasizes the RKI.
103,894 residents of nursing homes are among those vaccinated. 107 019 people received the vaccination for professional reasons. This includes medical staff with a very high risk of infection and staff in the care of the elderly. A total of 56 197 people were vaccinated because of their old age over 80 years.
Most vaccinations have so far been recorded by the RKI for Bavaria (57 833), followed by North Rhine-Westphalia (48 691) and Hesse (30 085). The fewest vaccinations in absolute terms have so far been reported in Thuringia (810), Bremen (1837) and Brandenburg (3219). At the beginning of the vaccination campaign, the RKI does not indicate the percentage of people vaccinated in the total population. The values available to the authorities of the individual federal states can be significantly higher than those reported by the RKI, since the reports on vaccination are sometimes sent to the institute with some delay.
Drosten expects a difficult six months
The Berlin virologist Christian Drosten expects the first half of 2021 to be difficult because of the coronavirus pandemic. “I am already optimistic about the new year, but I think the first half of the year will be very complicated”, said Drosten the Berliner Morgenpost. He reckons that a relaxation could occur from the second half of the year – provided that a large number of people are vaccinated in the first six months.
Drosten called it a challenge to get the incidence down on the one hand and to vaccinate at the same time. He prophesied: “We will get into a situation where we have vaccinated large parts of the risk groups and then there will be forces who say that there is no longer any reason for restrictions.” However, this would be a misjudgment, because in principle very high incidences should not be allowed, not even among younger people.
In response to the discussion about allegedly insufficient vaccine order quantities, the virologist said that this could hardly be assessed in retrospect. The vaccine had to be ordered months in advance without it being clear at the time whether it would work.
Drosten did not want to give a prognosis as to when the current restrictions could be lifted: “We currently have no valid figures because the laboratories have tested less over the holidays, but also because many people who have gotten sick have not gone to the doctor . ” Whether the lockdown will have to be extended until February cannot be predicted.
Police break up service with more than 100 participants
In a Christian free church in Herford, East Westphalia, the police ended a service with more than 100 participants in the middle of the corona pandemic. The children and adults did not wear a mouth and nose cover on Saturday evening, as the police announced on Sunday. In addition, the believers are said to have sung against the current rules for church services. “The police officers produced a total of 111 administrative offense reports for violating the Infection Protection Act,” the authorities said. Shortly before Christmas, a similar case occurred in a Christian parish in Essen. With a hundred, the police broke up a Pentecostal church service and created almost 60 reports.
Söder criticizes EU Commission for vaccine strategy
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder criticized the EU Commission in the debate about the scarce corona vaccine. “The European purchase process was obviously inadequate. It is difficult to explain that a very good vaccine is being developed in Germany, but is being vaccinated more quickly elsewhere. Biontech itself said that Europe probably did not take it that seriously,” said Söder in an interview with the Picture on sunday. The EU ordered too little and relied on the wrong manufacturers. “The EU Commission has probably planned too bureaucratically: too few of the right people ordered and too long price debates. Whether this was foresighted in view of the epochal threat can now be seen in comparison with other regions of the world,” said Söder, der his Union colleague and Minister of Health Jens Spahn took protection. The problems were “recognizable elsewhere”, Spahn was “on duty around the clock”.
Söder said that all procedures must be “massively accelerated”. He meant the ordering and production of the vaccine, if possible also under license from other companies in Germany, as well as faster and yet thoroughly checked approval of vaccines from other manufacturers. “It is difficult that we in Germany are only allowed to vaccinate half of the vaccine doses that are delivered because there is concern that we will not get another vaccine for the booster. This withholding of vaccine shows how insecure the vaccination situation is. This also fades the joy about the presence of a vaccine, “said the Bavarian Prime Minister.
As for the lockdown, Söder warned against easing it too quickly. “The lockdown must be extended until the end of January. Any hasty easing would set us back a long way. The example of Austria shows that the open-close-open-close model does not work. We need a clear line in Germany. The numbers are simply still high too high.”
Söder also spoke out in favor of a longer closure of daycare centers and schools – and for an adapted vacation planning: “Schools and day-care centers must not be opened too hastily. Given the high number of infections, it would be irresponsible to simply return teachers and students completely to schools It has been shown that infection and spread also take place in school. The risk is greatest after the holidays. “
10 315 new corona infections and 312 new deaths reported
The German health authorities reported 10,315 new corona infections within one day on Sunday. In addition, 312 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced in the morning. However, it is difficult to interpret the data at the moment because fewer people are likely to be tested during the Christmas holidays and around the turn of the year and not all offices may transmit their data. According to the RKI, this can result in late registrations.
The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) reported to the health authorities within seven days was 139.6 on Sunday morning. Its previous high was reached on December 22nd at 197.6. The differences between the federal states are enormous, however: Saxony had the highest incidences on Saturday with 329.7 and Thuringia with 248.9. Schleswig-Holstein had the lowest value with 77.4.
The RKI has counted 1,765,666 detected infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic (as of January 3, 00:00). The total number of people who died with or with the involvement of a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 rose to 34,272. The RKI stated the number of people recovered to be around 1,381,900.
According to the RKI report on Saturday, the nationwide seven-day R-value was 0.95. This R value means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 95 more people. The value represents the occurrence of the infection 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a long time, the infection process subsides. In its report, however, the RKI emphasizes that at the turn of the year corona cases are only discovered, recorded and transmitted with a delay, “so that the R-value may be underestimated”.
Spahn wants to keep schools and daycare centers closed
Before the next federal-state summit on Tuesday, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) is in favor of extending the corona lockdown and not opening schools and daycare centers. “In view of the still too high numbers, it is necessary to extend the measures and the restrictions,” he said at “RTL Aktuell”. That is difficult for pupils and parents, “but the same applies here: It is easier for everyone to have schools for a week longer than to open them and then have to face debates again at some point in a few weeks.”
The minister added that there is currently a maximum number of corona patients in the intensive care units. One must now “absolutely” reduce the incidence of infections and keep them low for a long time: “That is better than loosening too early and then possibly facing difficult questions again in a few weeks.” Spahn also believes that schools and daycare centers should be closed again. It is easier to get an extension from the holidays than at a later point in time.
The Minister of Health also defended the speed of vaccinations in Germany against criticism. “It’s going exactly as planned.” 1.3 million doses of vaccine had been delivered to the federal states by the end of the year. By the end of January, a total of 4 million cans from Biontech would be added. These are exactly the quantities that he had announced for weeks, “with the indication that it would be scarce at the beginning and that we therefore have to prioritize”. Spahn promised that all residents of nursing homes would be vaccinated in the course of January. “We can achieve this goal in January. And we want to and will achieve that with the countries,” he said.
According to a media report, the federal states agreed with the Federal Chancellor to extend the current lockdown beyond January 10th in preparation for the upcoming conference of prime ministers on Saturday afternoon. The heads of the state chancelleries, however, did not agree on whether this should initially be decided for two or three weeks, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in advance citing participants. Opinions also diverged in schools and kindergartens. According to the report – as requested by Spahn – they want to keep the severely affected countries closed; the less severely affected countries are considering reopening kindergartens and schools up to the seventh grade from January 11th. In higher classes there should then be alternating or distance lessons.