In Brief: German health minister defends COVID-19 test strategy as labs near capacity

Jens Spahn told public broadcaster ARD that Germany’s testing capacity was reaching its limit and that only health care workers and people at high risk or showing symptoms should be tested.

Photo by Testalize.me on Unsplash

 

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Sylvia Cunningham and Kate Brady

In a recent interview with the tabloid Bild, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said people should plan on the pandemic restrictions continuing past November, given COVID-19 numbers are up.

As of Tuesday, there were 15,332 new cases across the country over a 24-hour period, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

Spahn also told public broadcaster ARD that Germany’s testing capacity was reaching its limit and that only health care workers and people at high risk or showing symptoms should be tested.

“From the start, we’ve said testing is important and not an entitlement,” he said. “Targeted testing is also important.”

That means people who’ve been exposed but are asymptomatic should quarantine but forgo the test.

The minister added: “If someone has to stay home, but is feeling well, isn’t that nice? It might be hard and maybe unpleasant, but it’s not a danger to one’s health.”

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New quarantine rules for travelers coming from COVID-19 risk areas are in effect.

If you’ve spent time in a coronavirus hot spot in the last 10 days before entering Germany, you’ll have to register that information in an online portal.

Germany’s disease prevention authority, the Robert Koch Institute, considers all EU member states to either be risk areas or contain regions that are high-risk.

Upon arriving in Berlin, you must go straight into self-quarantine for 10 days. There is a chance to leave quarantine early if you can present a negative test result.

There are also some exceptions for certain health and security professionals, for people who are only passing through Germany, and for travelers who can provide a negative coronavirus test result upon entry into Germany that is no more than 48 hours old.

You can find all the rules on our COVID-19 information page.

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A seventh shelter is being created in Berlin for women and children affected by rising abuse.

The converted emergency shelter will provide an additional 55 beds for some of Berlin’s most vulnerable people.

Berlin State Health Secretary Barbara König said the shelter is necessary due to the increase in domestic violence during the pandemic.

The city has started plans for an eighth and ninth home in the next two years.

Women and children in Berlin affected by domestic abuse can seek help by calling the hotline number 030 611 03 00.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk. 

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