LATEST: German Health Minister ‘wants to prepare’ for possible fourth Covid wave

LATEST: German Health Minister 'wants to prepare' for possible fourth Covid wave
Tourists at Sylt over Whitsun weekend on May 23rd. Photo:
In contrast to last year, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) says he's already preparing for a possible fourth wave should coronavirus figures suddenly spike as they did in autumn of 2020.

This year, he said, he wants to discuss risks earlier and explore possible strategies to avoid a fourth wave. 

“I have already started the talks with experts and the Robert Koch Institute,” Spahn said Wednesday on German broadcaster ZDF’s Morgenmagazin.

Spahn’s vigilance also has to do with the fact that last year, after a summer with low incidences, the situation suddenly deteriorated in September and October. 

This led to Germany’s “lockdown light” in November 2020 which was continually extended, and in some cases made stricter – and the shutdown lasted for over half a year. 

Overall, however, Spahn said that he was satisfied with the current situation in Germany. 

“The mood is justifiably good right now, incidences are low, vaccination numbers are high, but we see in countries like the United Kingdom: things can also go wrong again quickly.”

Due to the newly named Delta variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in India, the UK is one of the few European countries to see a sudden rise in cases. 

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Current cases around Germany

On Wednesday, Germany’s 7-day incidence per 100,000 residents rose for the second day in a row, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 

The RKI reported a 7-day incidence of 36.8, up from 35.2. However, the figures were down from a week ago, when they stood at 46.8. 

Amid low numbers, most of Germany is cautiously reopening public life, including tourism infrastructures, and both outdoor and indoor dining and sports, the latter with a negative test or proof of full vaccinations. 

Yet the openings are not expected to lead to an exponential growth in case numbers, said RKI head Lothar Wieler on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: ‘Significantly better situation’: Germany’s Covid situation downgraded for first time in six months

Outbreak in Sylt

However, the German tourism hotspot of Sylt, Schleswig-Holstein – the first to reopen tourist infrastructure in Germany at the beginning of May – recently caused a stir following a coronavirus outbreak. 

Seven employees from two restaurants tested positive for the virus, and 29 employees and 55 guests from the North Friesland district were sent into quarantine. A total of 1,036 contact people were asked by health authorities to self-isolate.

The incident follows another on Sylt earlier in May, after which a couple tested positive for the virus after returning home and 300 people went into quarantine.

READ ALSO: Germany orders more than 300 people into quarantine after Sylt holiday

“With the uncontrolled rush to the island, nothing else was to be expected,” Gerhard Diehm, who runs the Vogelkoje pub on Sylt, said in an interview Wednesday with “Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland” (RND).

Since May 1st, holidaymakers have again been allowed to travel to Sylt as part of a model project – the prerequisite has been a negative test result and the willingness to be tested again on site every two days.

Vocabulary

discuss – besprechen

suddenly – schlagartig

onslaught/rush – (der) Ansturm

readiness/willingness – (die) Bereitschaft

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


Member comments

  1. and today the 7-day average is rising again. We’ll keep going through the same circle: Cases go down, ease restrictions, cases go up, emergency brake and lock everything again.

  2. Why are you opening everything up again if you are now going on about a fourth wave?!
    Maybe get everyone vaccinated…or don’t rush to open Germany up?

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