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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Scientists: Relaxation after Easter holidays possible

Berlin – According to the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, a relaxation of the restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus is conceivable after the Easter holidays.

It is conceivable, for example, that contact bans will be implemented less strictly if other measures are followed, the scientists explain in a statement published on Friday. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert, meanwhile, asked the citizens once again to be patient.

A gradual loosening of the requirements should go hand in hand with “widespread wearing of mouth and nose protection,” says the Leopoldina statement. In addition, the experts spoke in favor of digital tools in which people “voluntarily and in compliance with data protection and personal rights” provide data on possible infection routes. Such an app on the smartphone is currently under discussion.

In addition, the capacities for corona tests should be increased further and veterinary facilities should also be used during a transition period. A Leopoldina working group is to work on the basis for decision-making to relax the requirements.

Government spokesman Seibert emphasized: “It is very important, especially over Easter, that we all continue to adhere to these restrictions together, that we adhere to the rules.” The Federal Government is of course still thinking about later phases and steps. You have to prepare that mentally, but now count the message of perseverance.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced its first successes in containing the coronavirus pandemic. An infected person has only infected another person for a few days, said RKI President Lothar Wieler. In the past weeks, the value had been five, sometimes even seven, people infected by an infected person. However, the new data are not yet a reason to give the all-clear: the epidemic slowly subsides only when an infected person infects fewer than one person on average.

The epidemiologist Dietrich Rothenbacher warned that an early exit from the precautionary measures would result in a rapid increase in the number of cases. “Even if we assume 10 – or even 20 – people for each known case who have not been tested but are already infected, for example with mild or no symptoms,” said the Vice President of the German Society for Teaching at Ulm University Epidemiology of the German Press Agency. “Then, with 82 million inhabitants, that’s still very little to benefit from herd immunity that is starting to emerge.”

With herd immunity, scientists mean the immunity of such a large percentage of the population after a wave of infections that the further spread of the disease comes to a standstill. Ultimately, however, political decisions have to be made, Rothenbacher emphasized.

Researchers from the Munich Ifo Institute headed by President Clemens Fuest and Martin Lohse, President of the Society of German Natural Scientists and Doctors, advocated a gradual loosening taking health protection into account. For example, places with a low risk of infection, such as highly automated factories, could be released again, as could places such as daycare centers, where less vulnerable people were. Sectors, where employees could also work well at home, have less priority than those where it is difficult to do so.

Restrictions that involve high social or psychological burdens should primarily be relaxed, as should restrictions in regions with lower infection rates or free capacities in health care. The same could apply to areas where many people have already had immunity to the virus, the experts said.

Kiranpreet Kaur
Kiranpreet Kaur
Staff writer at The Eastern Herald. Studied political science.

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