German man ‘kills own family over fake Covid pass’

A German man killed his wife and three children before taking his own life, leaving behind a note that said he feared being jailed for faking a Covid-19 health pass, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Tributes outside the home of the family who were killed.
Tributes outside the home of the family who were killed. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Patrick Pleul

All five bodies were found in the family’s home in Königs Wusterhausen outside Berlin on Saturday, Brandenburg state prosecutors said.

The 40-year-old father said in the note that he had secured a fake coronavirus vaccine pass for his wife.

But her boss spotted the fraud and planned to investigate, Cottbus prosecutors’ spokesman Gernot Bantleon told AFP.

“The father expected that he and his wife would be jailed and their children taken away,” Bantleon said.

Investigators believe the man killed the children aged four, eight and 10 and his 40-year-old wife before killing himself.

Neighbours called emergency services after seeing the lifeless bodies in the house.

Ongoing autopsies have so far revealed only fatal gunshot wounds to the head, prosecutors said.

German authorities have repeatedly warned of the spread of fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates, in a country hit especially hard by the latest coronavirus wave compared to its neighbours.

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EU to issue Covid recovery certificates after rapid test

Overstretched PCR testing capacities throughout the EU have led to requirements for recovery certificates being downgraded.

EU to issue Covid recovery certificates after rapid test

On February 22nd, the European Commission announced that EU Member States will be able to issue recovery certificates based on a positive rapid antigen test result, with immediate effect.

Previously, it had only been possible to obtain a recovered certificate following a positive result from a PCR test but, due to overstretched PCR testing capacities throughout the EU, the Commission has now decided to downgrade the requirement.

READ ALSO: EU countries agree to simplify travel rules with Covid certificates

Citizens will be able to obtain EU-wide proof of having overcome a Covid infection after a positive rapid test. However, this test must have been carried out by appropriately qualified personnel and be listed on the common EU list of rapid antigen tests for Covid-19. According to the announcement, EU countries can also issue these certificates retroactively on the basis of tests carried out from October 1st 2021.

When will it be possible to get a recovered certificate on the basis of a rapid test in Germany?

It is unclear when the new EU rule for recovered certificates based on rapid tests will be implemented in Germany.

According to the EU Commission’s announcement, countries like Germany can issue certificates of recovery based on rapid antigen tests as soon as they are ready. But practically speaking, it is most likely that the certificates will firstly be obtainable once the German Covid-19 Protection Measures Exemption Ordinance has been adapted.

READ ALSO: How German pharmacies are extending the ‘recovery’ status for vaccinated people

At the time of writing, the information on the new EU decision has not yet been included on the Health Ministry website or on the Robert Koch Institute website –  these still state that nucleic acid detection, i.e. PCR or NAT testing, is required.

The Local also asked the Health Ministry for clarification on when the rule will be applied in Germany, but a spokesperson told us: “the issuing of EU digital certificates of recovery based on rapid antigen tests is optional for the member states. In principle, it is to be welcomed that the EU Commission is reacting flexibly to the lack of PCR tests. In Germany, however, there are enough PCR tests to be able to check more precisely whether someone is infected.”