Düsseldorf Corona vaccinations in NRW are picking up speed and a good seven percent of people have now been fully vaccinated. From Monday, they will be exempt from some corona restrictions. SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach is critical.
Going shopping or to the hairdressers without a quick test: Those who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus or who have already been ill will benefit from the first relaxation measures in North Rhine-Westphalia from Monday onwards. For example, in the retail sector, vaccinated and recovered persons will no longer have to present a negative rapid test result, the state government announced on Saturday. However, certain time limits apply. The introduction of these relaxations means that NRW, like many other federal states, is not waiting for the corresponding nationwide rulings.
Vaccinated and recovered people will have certain entitlements, for example to use the "Click and Meet” service in retail, to visit zoos and botanical gardens or go to the hairdresser. At the moment, customers are only permitted with proof of a negative corona test within the last 24 hours.
This testing requirement will now be waived from Monday for those who have had full vaccination protection for 14 days or can prove they have recovered from a corona infection with a positive PCR test which is at least 28 days old. This now applies to more and more people. By the weekend, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 1.3 million people in NRW had already been vaccinated twice, and 5 million had received at least the first dose. 650,000 people were considered as recovered.
"It is a first step to put vaccinated and recovered people on an equal footing with those who have tested negative," said Minister President Armin Laschet (CDU). "The restrictions were and are intended to avert danger. Vaccinated and recovered people do not pose a greater danger than people who have tested negative. That is why we are lifting the encroachments on fundamental rights for this group of people."
No quarantine requirements for vaccinated returning travellers
Accordingly, travellers entering NRW from corona risk areas will no longer have to quarantine if they have already been vaccinated or have recovered from infection. Testing is no longer compulsory for this group of people in schools - however, hardly any pupils have been vaccinated so far.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, similar to many other federal states, the relaxations will already apply from Monday, even before a decision has been made on the nationwide rules for the rights of vaccinated persons. However, Laschet stressed that further relaxations for those who have been vaccinated must now be provided "in cooperation with the federal government and the other states". In addition to the regulations now anticipated in NRW, the draft by Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) provides, among other things, that vaccinated and recovered persons do not have to abide by curfew rules and are given more freedom for private gatherings with persons from other households.
Criticism from SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach
SPD politician Lauterbach thinks that the states are wrong to go it alone. "It's exhausting - people want uniform rules," he told WDR. Nationwide discussions are being held this week to decide which corona restrictions should no longer apply to those who have been fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from infection. The NRW state government should have waited for this, believes Lauterbach. "I don't understand why an individual solution is being tried again so close to the time when we are about to deal with this.”
The number of new infections dropped noticeably over the weekend. In the past seven days, the seven-day incidence rate was 157.5, according to the RKI on Sunday. The day before, the figure was at 159.6. This means that the incidence rate, which indicates the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within one week, fell in North Rhine-Westphalia for the sixth day in a row. The previous high was reached last Monday at 186.8. The number of new infections was particularly high in the 15-34 age group. 66 people infected with COVID-19 died, according to RKI figures from Saturday and Sunday.
The highest infection rate in NRW continued to be in Hamm, where the incidence rate rose slightly again to 302.9 - the fourth highest figure of all regions throughout Germany. 21 of the 53 districts and independent cities in NRW were above the 165 mark, which is decisive for closing schools and day-care centres. The day before, there were 25. Five communes remained below the threshold of 100, which is decisive for the federal emergency brake. The lowest infection figures in NRW were in the district of Soest with an incidence rate of 74.2.
On Friday, the NRW Ministry of Health announced that people with particular pre-existing conditions in priority group 2 can now book appointments for corona inoculation at the vaccination centres. The chronically ill in priority group 2 include, for example, thalidomide victims, organ transplant patients or people with certain lung and respiratory diseases. (Original text: dpa, Translation: Caroline Kusch)