Spahn, who belongs to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), plans to remove the 7-day incidence of 50 Covid infections per 100,000 residents as a key marker from the Infection Protection Act.
During the pandemic, critical thresholds – such as 50 infections per 100,000 people in seven days – have been used as an indicator to decide when Covid measures should be brought in or tightened.
“The 50 incidence in the law has had its day,” Spahn told broadcaster ZDF on Monday. “That is why my proposal is to now remove this benchmark, this 50 incidence, from the law quickly.”
On Monday Germany’s nationwide 7-day incidence had climbed to 56.4 cases per 100,000 people, up from 54.5 the previous day. There were 3,668 cases reported within 24 hours and four deaths.
Some states – including Baden-Württemburg – have already moved away from focusing on the incidence. They are instead using Germany’s extended health pass system, which restricts entry to most indoor spaces to people who are vaccinated, recovered from Covid or with a negative test, regardless of the number of Covid cases.
All states had to bring in the health pass – or 3G (geimpft – vaccinated, genesen – recovered, and getestet – tested) system by Monday August 23rd.
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Spahn called for states to use the hospitalisation rate – the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals – as a guide in regulating coronavirus measures.
“The new parameter will then be hospitalisation,” Spahn said.
Spahn said he wanted to present a proposal for a change in the law before the German federal election on September 26th. The government’s ‘Corona Cabinet’ met Monday morning to discuss the situation.
Union candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet (CDU) also called for a rapid departure from the 50 incidence.
“We have learned: incidence alone is no longer meaningful,” he told Bild TV. It’s well known, he said, “that 50 is not the same today as it was a year ago, because so many people have been vaccinated”.
In July Spahn said that “200 (Covid cases per 100,000 people) was the new 50” when it comes to assessing the Covid situation.
The Robert Koch Institute has previously called for the government to move away from focusing so much on the number of infections when assessing the pandemic – and instead look in more detail at hospitals, as well as the number of vaccinations.
Around 63.9 percent of the population has received at least one Covid jab, and 58.8 percent are fully vaccinated.
As The Local reported on Friday, hospital admissions are increasing in Germany but they are still at a low level.