Doctors’ association accuses German Health Ministry of causing ‘test chaos’

Doctors’ association accuses German Health Ministry of causing ‘test chaos’
A test centre in Berlin. Photo: Jörg Carstensen/DPA
After free rapid testing was rolled out across Germany on Monday in a delayed and restricted form, the deputy head of the National Doctors’ Association (KBV) accused the government of mishandling the project.

The implementation of the rapid testing strategy was organized in a “completely rushed and back-to-front manner that led to chaos from the start”, said Stephan Hofmeister, deputy head of the KBV.

Health Minister Jens Spahn promised in February to provide free rapid testing for all by the start of March. But he appears not to have agreed on the plan beforehand with Angela Merkel, leading to a dispute between Spahn and the Chancellor over its implementation.

Eventually, the federal government and states agreed to start offering each resident of Germany one free test per week, with doctors, pharmacies and tests centres expected to implement the strategy.

READ ALSO: Schnell’ vs ‘Selbst’: The key differences between Germany’s new Covid-19 tests

But Hofmeister said that GPs had first received the details of the new regulation on Monday.

“No wonder that doctors feel like this has been sprung upon them,” he said, explaining that the GPs needed both time to acquire test kits and have a clear and non bureaucratic plan for conducting the testing.

“Clearly, it is always forgotten that our doctors’ practises need to deal with millions of acute and chronic illnesses every day and are already stretched enough as it is,” Hofmeister added.

The government has called the nationwide deployment of testing a cornerstone of its plan to slowly open the economy back up even as cases have slowly started to rise again in recent weeks.

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Not enough tests

State governments lambasted the federal government over the weekend for not delivering enough test kits for the start of the test regime. The federal government shot back, saying states were responsible for ordering the tests kits themselves.

The confusion over the test strategy comes after a slow rollout of the vaccination campaign, leading to a loss of trust in the government on the part of German voters.

Experts say though that the vaccine shortages will be a thing of the past by April.

On Tuesday the Robert Koch Institute released the latest data on the spread of the virus and its public health impact.

A total of 4,252 new infections were reported on Tuesday morning, with an additional 255 deaths. That marks a slight rise compared to last Tuesday when 3,943 new cases were recorded.

At the same time the so-called 7-day incidence of cases per 100,000 people dropped slightly to 67.5 from 68 on Monday. Four weeks ago, on February 9th, the seven-day incidence was 72.8.

Since the start of the pandemic, the RKI has recorded 2.5 million confirmed infections although the actual number is likely to be considerably higher due to the fact that many infections are never recognized.

The total number of people in Germany who have died with or of an infection with Sars-Cov-2 is 72,189.

READ MORE: These are the lockdown rules relaxed on Monday


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