Conference of minister presidents: no relaxations, no tightenings

Dr. Joachim Wutte
Industrial law, InfektionsschG, EQV

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At the federal-state conference of the Chancellor with the Ministerprasident*innen on 24. January 2022, the current Corona situation was assessed and decisions were made to continue to combat the pandemic. The full report with all resolutions can be found below in the download area. Below we reproduce the wording in excerpts.

Assessment of the current situation

The "Omikron wave" has reached Germany: the new variant is spreading very quickly, causing the number of new daily infections to rise significantly and now exceeds 100.000 new illnesses per day. The expert council expects a further increase in the number of infections. Regionally, 7-day incidences of several thousand could be reached at the peak.

The extent of the hospital burden will depend critically on how the number of illnesses develops in the group of unvaccinated adults and those over 50, he said. There is still too large a vaccination gap among those over 50, he said. If one compares the situation in Germany with other countries, it becomes clear that the proportion of unvaccinated people in the elderly population is still very high here, at around three million people.

Federal and state governments (want to) jointly intensify vaccination campaign. The expert council points out that in the long term it is urgently necessary to close the remaining immunity gaps in society through vaccination. Otherwise, they say, we can expect renewed waves of severe infections and illnesses on a cyclical basis. Against this background, the Chancellor and the heads of government of the states reaffirm the need for the introduction of a general vaccination obligation.

Continuation of previous measures

The Chancellor and state government leaders agree that the rules that have been in place until now remain in effect.

Note:On the results and implementation of the last Conference of Prime Ministers on 07. January 2022 we report in this article .

Opening perspective

Federal and state governments will develop opening perspectives for the moment when an overload of the health care system can be excluded.

Major supraregional events

The heads of government of the federal states agree that there is a need to standardize the existing regulations when holding major events. They are instructing the heads of the state and senate chancelleries of the federal states to issue the vaccine by 09. February 2022 to agree on a uniform regulation.

Vaccinate

Vaccination helps. Vaccinations protect against serious diseases. They are the best and safest means for society and economy to overcome the pandemic. The German Chancellor and the heads of government of the federal states call on all citizens to have the booster vaccination three months after their second vaccination. Those who have not yet received any vaccination at all should now get vaccinated immediately. Even the first vaccination protects against a severe course of the disease.

Vaccination is readily available everywhere at no cost. For all citizens over 30 years of age, priority will be given to the Moderna vaccine. For children and citizens up to 30 years of age, there is the vaccine from Biontech. Both vaccines are safe and have been tested millions of times over. With the Novavax vaccine, a protein-based vaccine will be available in addition to the two mRNA vaccines by the end of February.

Prioritization in testing

The current high number of new infections, which is expected to continue to rise, is leading to bottlenecks in available PCR tests. When shortages occur, it is therefore essential to prioritize.

Limited PCR testing available will be focused on vulnerable groups and workers who care for and treat them. So to the personnel in particular in hospitals, in practices, in the care, mechanisms of the integration assistance and for persons with the risk of heavy courses of disease. Likewise, PCR testing should be used for high-risk patients (elderly, comorbid, immunocompromised) to ensure early treatment and if necessary. to enable antiviral therapy.

Quarantine and isolation

The Federal Chancellor and the heads of government welcome the announcement by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute to adjust the rules for isolating ill employees in hospitals, care facilities and institutions for integration assistance. In the future, the general rules will also apply to them: Isolation after a proven infection can be terminated after seven days by a certified rapid antigen test (with proof of negative result) if symptoms are absent for 48 hours. Without testing, it ends after 10 days. For contact quarantine, free testing by negative antigen test after seven days is also possible. Those with full vaccine protection from booster vaccination ("3 of 3") are exempt from quarantine as contacts; this also applies to comparable groups (newly vaccinated and convalescent, etc).).

Note: To date, employees in the above facilities must always present a negative PCR test to resume work after isolation or quarantine.

Convalescent and vaccination status

The heads of government of the German states take note that the Federal Minister of Health has announced that the determinations to be made by the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) regarding vaccinated and convalescent status under the amended Covid 19 Protective Measures Exemption Ordinance (SchAusnahmV) will in future be announced and justified in good time before they come into force because of their considerable scope. They assume that the federal government will make the appropriate arrangements.

Note: The PEI and the RKI had on 15. January 2022 without transitional provision or protection of confidence for old cases, shortened the convalescent status to 90 days and introduced the requirement of two vaccinations for the Johnson&Johnson vaccine. We report in this article.

Prioritization in contact tracking

(A)s part of the follow-up of contacts of infected persons, prioritization (is) also useful and necessary. The Federal Chancellor and the heads of government of the federal states ask the Conference of Health Ministers to work out practicable regulations in cooperation with the Robert Koch Institute in the near future.

The Federal Chancellor and the heads of the governments of the German states ask the citizens to deal responsibly with possible illnesses. They should independently inform their contacts and use the available electronic tools for contact tracing.

Protection of the elderly and care facilities

The states will collect the necessary data on the vaccination rate among employees and residents in old people’s and nursing homes and institutions providing integration assistance. The Federal Ministry of Health is examining the possibilities of nationwide monitoring.

Critical infrastructure

Many critical infrastructure sectors are prepared for severe staff shortages and have adjusted their plans accordingly. The measures taken have helped to ensure that no threats to primary care have occurred to date.

Digitization

The expert panel issued a second opinion on 22. January 2022 short- and medium-term measures recommended in the area of digitization of the healthcare system. The Federal Chancellor and the heads of government of the states emphasize the urgency and ask the Conference of Federal and State Health Ministers (GMK) to deal with the recommendations of the Expert Council in a timely manner. The GMK is also asked to submit a report by the end of February 2022 on the implementation of the Public Health Service Pact and on the implementation of the German Electronic Reporting and Information System (DEMIS) in hospitals. In the short term, digital applications for proof of vaccination or convalescent status (esp. Corona warning app and CovPass app) to further develop compliance with the 2G or. 2G-Plus rule to be able to be checked in a simple way.

Economic aid and short-time working allowances

By extending economic aid and the special arrangements for short-time working allowances until 31. March 2022 employees and businesses will continue to be supported. The federal and state governments agree that a decision must be taken promptly on the continuation and design of the aid and special regulations. To this end, the German government will submit a proposal by the next meeting, taking into account the further development of the infection situation and the measures to contain the COVID 19 pandemic.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be held on 16. The meeting will take place on February 2022, unless further infection events make an earlier meeting necessary.

Protocol declaration Bavaria

Protocol declaration by the Free States of Bavaria and Saxony and the states of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia on Paragraph 12:
1. The states of Bavaria and Saxony and the states of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia will hold a
early decision on the continuation of the short-time allowance beyond the 31st day. March 2022 beyond for
required.
2. The states of Bavaria and Saxony and the states of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia hold a
Extension of economic aid also to municipal enterprises considered necessary.

Note: The Bavarian Cabinet will meet on Tuesday, 25. January 2022 and will be discussed in more detail. discuss the necessary steps to implement the decisions of the Prime Minister’s Conference. However, it will also be discussed whether cautious relaxations of the restrictions in youth work, culture and sports, which are particularly strict in Bavaria, are possible. We report.

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