In view of the increasing number of corona infections in Germany, not everyone who tested positive with a rapid test should be given a PCR test.

The health ministers of the federal states unanimously voted in favor of this on Saturday.

They welcomed corresponding proposals from Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) for prioritizing PCR tests.

The laboratory capacities are finite, said Saxony-Anhalt's Health Minister Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD) in Magdeburg after a switching conference with her colleagues from the federal states.

Staff in hospitals, medical practices and care facilities as well as high-risk patients and people at risk of serious illnesses should definitely have a PCR test.

"There should be access to PCR tests."

Limited contact tracing

"For all other people who have no symptoms and can show a positive antigen test result, confirmation by PCR should be dispensed with." Instead, a follow-up test with a second monitored antigen test is advocated. The department heads also spoke out in favor of not using a PCR test if the corona warning app showed a red display and instead using “high-quality antigen tests”.

Due to the sharp increase in the number of infections, the health authorities should also concentrate on contact tracing in the case of corona cases in the hospital and care sector and in facilities that provide integration assistance for people with disabilities. In addition to contacting infected people and their household members, follow-up in these areas should be carried out “with the highest priority” to protect so-called vulnerable groups, according to a decision taken unanimously by the health ministers.

It refers to the expected further sharp increase in the number of infections caused by Omikron and the capacities in the health authorities. "In addition to the adjustments to the quarantine and isolation rules decided by the federal and state governments (...), the tracking of contact persons should therefore also be strategically realigned nationwide," it continues. What is needed is a “uniform, cross-national orientation of contact person tracing towards vulnerable groups”. "Further contact persons" must therefore expect that they "usually can no longer be contacted by the responsible authorities with a significant time delay." 

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), half of Germans have now been boosted.

At least 61 million people in Germany have been fully vaccinated, and at least 41.7 million people have also received a booster vaccination, the RKI announced on Saturday.

This corresponds to 50.1 percent of the total population. 

Half a million (505,000) doses of vaccine were administered on Friday.

According to the RKI, the proportion of those who have been vaccinated twice in the total population is currently 73.3 percent.

At the same time, the incidence of new corona infections has reached a new high.

The RKI gave the seven-day incidence in the morning as 772.7.

179 new deaths related to the corona virus were counted.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) does not expect that a fourth dose will be absolutely necessary after a triple vaccination in the event of compulsory vaccination being introduced.

"Anyone who has three vaccinations with mRNA vaccines or a similarly effective vaccine today or in the future has good basic immunization," said Lauterbach of the "Rheinische Post".

"Today's triple vaccination would therefore satisfy every vaccination requirement."