BERLIN (dpa) – In light of the rapid spread of the Omikron variant, Chancellor Olaf Schulz and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (both SPD) have again called for caution during the holidays.
Lauterbach wrote on Twitter that the proportion of Omicron cases “will rise very sharply in the next few days.” “Please avoid/avoid infection at the festival. Even vaccinated people should test themselves.” Schulz wrote on Twitter: “Back at Christmas, that means: Reduce contacts. I know this is especially difficult right now. But if we stand together and get vaccinated, we’ll get through this crisis.”
Omikron in all federal states
The Omikron variant has now reached all federal states. Even if the majority of infections are still caused by the delta variant of the coronavirus, the number of omicron cases detected has increased dramatically in recent weeks, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) wrote in its weekly report.
The head of the RKI, Lothar Wheeler, told the German editorial network: “The Omikron outbreak is impressive. A lot of people in a room with an infected person can get infected. A lot of them get sick too.” This is a different dimension from what is known from Delta. Delta has been the dominant alternative to the coronavirus in Germany for months.
According to RKI, 441 omicron infections confirmed by genome sequencing had been transmitted by 21 December. According to a specific PCR test, 1438 cases are suspected. However, in Germany, only a small portion of samples are tested positive for omicron.
RKI: So far, the course in Omikron has been moderate
As for the Omikron variant, the RKI wrote in its weekly report published Thursday evening: “Data from previous reports of symptoms suggest a moderately mild course in subjects with a full vaccination or a booster vaccine.” However, experts have always emphasized that with the expected high number of infected people in the context of the rapid spread of omicron, a large number of people will become seriously ill at the same time and will have to be treated in hospital.
In an interview with the newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, virologist Christian Drosten said in response to a question about whether the closure was needed in Germany, it was necessary to wait and see if the measures now in force and which have been followed up again will work. “If Connectivity restrictions were not working as hoped, one can think of restrictions that only people who are already reinforced can access – which he referred to as “1G”.
Berlin virologist Charité said that people who have been vaccinated twice are protected from intense training sessions even with Omikron, “but not practically against infection”. The transmission of the virus is hardly reduced in the case of infection. “But those who have been boosted recently are likely to contribute less to spread and be significantly protected from disease. In Delta, 2G and 3G may be sufficient, but now Omikron is writing the rules.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211224-99-494594 / 8
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