The border controls at the crossings to the Czech Republic and the Austrian state of Tyrol will be extended until March 3rd. As a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed on Tuesday, the bans and rules for entry from there that have been in force since February 14 will remain unchanged.
The federal government had declared the Czech Republic, Slovakia and large parts of Tyrol in Austria to be so-called virus variant areas. From there, only Germans and foreigners with a residence and residence permit in Germany are currently allowed to enter. There are exceptions for truck drivers and cross-border commuters with systemically relevant professions. You must have a negative corona test that is not older than 48 hours. The rules were initially introduced for ten days.
The Federal Police control compliance with the stricter entry regulations at these border sections “flexibly in terms of location and time with a clear focus on international or supraregional traffic connections in order to ensure the most complete control of cross-border traffic”, said the Federal Police Headquarters in Potsdam.
The number of people who are turned away at the borders has decreased, according to the information in the past few days, “because the travelers are increasingly behaving in accordance with the rules due to the controls.”
Several of the requirements are disproportionate or unfounded, according to a letter of complaint from the EU Commission to the German EU ambassador Michael Clauss in Brussels. “We believe that Germany’s understandable goal – the protection of public health in a pandemic – could be achieved through less restrictive measures,” the commission continued.
The EU Commission now expects a response within ten working days. In theory, it could initiate legal proceedings against Germany, but this is unlikely due to the ongoing pandemic.
RKI reports 3883 new corona infections
The health authorities in Germany reported 3883 new corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. In addition, 415 additional deaths were recorded within 24 hours. That comes from figures from the RKI on Tuesday. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had recorded 3856 new infections and 528 new deaths within one day.
According to the RKI, the number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) was 60.5 nationwide on Tuesday morning – and thus slightly lower than the previous day (61.0). According to the RKI management report on Monday evening, the nationwide seven-day R-value was 1.05 (previous day 1.10). This means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 105 more people. The value represents the occurrence of the infection 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a long time, the infection process subsides.
Corona warning app will react to shorter risk encounters in the future
The federal government’s official Corona warning app will also be used in the future for shorter risk encounters. So far, the app has informed its users if they have been near someone for ten minutes or more who was later found to be infected with the coronavirus. This period will now be shortened to five minutes, the federal government announced on Monday.
By adapting the epidemiological model for calculating the risk, a slight increase in the number of encounters assessed as actually high-risk, which are marked red in the app, is expected, it said. In addition, the number of low-risk encounters recorded, which are marked green in the app, will “increase moderately”. The formula has also been adapted because of the new coronavirus variants with a higher risk of infection.
As part of the constant further development of the tracing app, a so-called cluster detection can also be included in an upcoming version, for example when visiting a restaurant or a cultural event. The users of the app can use a QR code to check in at the location or the event. Then risk encounters that are more than two meters away would also be recorded.
However, the app will not be expanded to include functionality that allows visitors to a restaurant or event to enter their personal contact details, as is required in the pandemic. The legal requirements for this are not available nationwide. Infection protection regulations in some federal states expressly provide that these lists must be kept on paper. In other federal states, however, apps like “Luca”, “E-Guest” or “May I come in?” possible and in some cases already connected to the systems of the health authorities, for example in Jena or on the East Frisian islands.
A further development of the interface between Google and Apple has also made it possible for the Corona warning app to better record several short-term encounters with the same person, it said.
Early vaccination: Investigations against Halles OB
Because of the early corona vaccination of Halle’s mayor Bernd Wiegand (independent), the public prosecutor is now investigating. The police searched several offices of the city administration on Monday. The subject is the investigation into a case against Wiegand on suspicion of “misappropriating embezzlement” of the corona vaccine, the public prosecutor said.
Wiegand is suspected of having “disregarded the vaccination sequence regulated in the Federal Minister of Health’s Corona Virus Vaccination Ordinance” to ensure that he himself and other persons who were not yet authorized were vaccinated. The public prosecutor sees an initial suspicion fulfilled both through press reports and statements by Wiegand on the facts.
Wiegand wrote in an initial statement that the search was disproportionate and that he would have it checked immediately. “I reject the allegations.”
Wiegand had only announced on Sunday that he had been “in the fire of the debate for two weeks now.” “I can take it.” However, in his opinion, there is no technical discussion of the question of how to deal with vaccine residues throughout Germany. Both the old and the new vaccination ordinance allowed exceptions in the “atypical case”. In individual cases, it was definitely possible to give the vaccine to people outside of the highest priority – for example, so that they do not have to throw it away.
The public prosecutor’s office became clear in a press letter. The city of Halle and thus Wiegand as their main administrative officer had only been entrusted with the vaccine. The vaccine does not belong to him and is subject to the legal requirements of the Corona Virus Vaccination Ordinance. Even vaccine residues should only benefit those parts of the population who are at risk of suffering a particularly severe or even fatal course of a corona virus infection, according to the public prosecutor. The search was probably the first nationwide in “such a thing,” said a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor.
Elsewhere, too, early vaccinations for local politicians, the Bishop of Augsburg or relatives of nursing home staff caused anger and questions. A case in the Upper Palatinate, in which at least 20 unauthorized people were vaccinated in a nursing home, was also reported to the public prosecutor’s office.
Halle’s mayor said he had been called home in January because no one else was available for a spontaneous vaccination at the time. Wiegand had not made his vaccination public immediately, but only at the beginning of February, as did the vaccination of members of the civil protection team and city councils. According to the priority list of the urgency of those eligible for vaccination set by the federal and state governments, Wiegand’s turn would not have been yet. The mayor’s vaccination caused a sensation nationwide, in Halle for criticism and calls for resignation.
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