Under the new scheme, Germany plans to test everyone who is admitted to a hospital or a nursing home, even if they are not displaying symptoms of the coronavirus.
In an interview with Welt on Friday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said he wanted testing upon admission to nursing homes, hospitals and care facilities to be ‘the norm’.
“My goal is to submit a regulation in May that will enable preventive tests in hospitals and nursing homes,” Spahn said.
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“When patients and residents are admitted or transferred, Covid-19 tests should be the norm.”
Spahn also said that tests should be carried out as a precautionary measure for all staff, residents and patients in the event of an infection in nursing homes and care facilities.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn. Photo: DPA
Spahn said that Germany had enough capacity to carry out the additional tests – and that the government would require stututory health insurance companies to foot the bill.
“Last week, 425,000 tests were carried out across Germany. But the test capacity is more than twice as large.”
Germany’s parliament passed a law earlier in May which would require health insurance companies to pay for coronavirus tests – even if the tested person had no symptoms.
Germany to establish medical equipment reserve
Spahn also said that Germany would set up a reserve of essential medical equipment, which would ensure supply for several months in the event of an outbreak or pandemic.
“The reserve will ensure security (of supply) for several months, so that we do not get in a situation like that in February and March where even medical staff do not have enough masks and gloves.”
Despite the early shortages, Germany is currently experiencing an over supply of personal protective equipment – and would stop deliveries as a result, according to Spahn.
“We are already so far that several statutory health insurance associations say: our yard is full, please do not deliver anymore,” he said.
“As a result, we will end daily deliveries to the federal states and statutory health insurance associations in the middle of the year.”