Hanover (dpa / lni) – In Lower Saxony, more children than before will have to be tested regularly for the corona virus in the future. The state government is planning to expand compulsory testing in schools for the new half-year in February. “The only exception is for children and young people who have already been boosted,” said a government spokeswoman on Tuesday. So far, the tests for vaccinated and recovered students are voluntary.
According to the Minister of Education, a test should also apply in the future for kindergarten children from the age of three. “I support the way to mandatory testing in the day care centers,” said the SPD politician Grant Hendrik Tonne. The logistics are currently being planned so that the tests are reliably available. In addition, it is important to end the vote within the state government on the subject. “As soon as both are in place, the obligation to test will be activated. We are not binding on a date today, but we are striving for rapid implementation by around mid-February,” explained the minister.
The Greens and the Verdi union had previously pushed for the introduction of compulsory testing at daycare centers. Verdi had explained that corona tests protect the beneficiaries and children, but also their parents. Lolli-tests are now to be carried out primarily for pre-school children. For crèche children under the age of three, on the other hand, the state has not yet provided any corona tests at all, not even for voluntary use.
In the meantime, young people have to be prepared for the fact that the 2G and 3G rules will soon apply to them too. Health Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD) had already announced last week that the exception for minors should be adjusted at the beginning of February. From what age the vaccination status WILL then be taken into account was still unclear on Tuesday. The government’s opinion on this issue is not yet complete, said the head of the Corona crisis team, Heiger Scholz.
His deputy Claudia Schröder warned with regard to the vaccination rate in Lower Saxony that the numbers were declining. In the first two weeks of January, a little more than 900,000 vaccinations were counted – that was significantly fewer than in two weeks in December, said Schröder. “We don’t need more vaccination centers at the moment, we need more people willing to be vaccinated,” she emphasized. “We have sufficient vaccines and sufficient vaccination sites for everyone.”
According to this, 226 mobile vaccination teams are available nationwide, and around 4800 resident doctors are also taking part in the vaccination campaign. In addition, pharmacists are preparing to vaccinate as well.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around three quarters (74.3 percent) of Lower Saxony have been immunized to date. The booster vaccination rate is 52 percent – this is the fourth highest value in a comparison of the federal states.
Nevertheless, the virus continues to spread extremely quickly, especially in the omicron variant, and the numbers for Lower Saxony are at record levels. According to the RKI, 5,996 new cases have been reported since Monday. The incidence rose to 461.0 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week (previous day: 431.0). The hospital indicator rose from 4.9 to 5.2. The value indicates how many Covid 19 patients were admitted to the hospitals within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants. The occupancy of the intensive care beds with Covid 19 patients, on the other hand, fell from 5.5 to 5.3 percent.
According to the state, around 95 percent of all positive corona samples can now be traced back to Omikron. The evaluation is based on a random sample of around 3100 examinations.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220118-99-756103/3