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Spahn and RKI: Indian variant in view

According to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), the Indian Corona variant is technically and politically in focus in Germany.

With "appropriate knowledge", measures such as the classification of India and possibly other countries as virus variant areas are not excluded, said the CDU politician on Friday in Berlin. He also referred to the close ties between India and Great Britain. South Africa and Brazil, among others, are currently designated as virus variant areas, where variants of the coronavirus that are classified as worrying are in circulation.

RKI Deputy Head Lars Schaade said it was conceivable “that the variant will present us with new challenges”. But the evidence is not there yet. "We have to look there, warnings have to be taken seriously." It is also about avoiding the further introduction of the variant to Germany. The number of previous evidence is 21, as the RKI had already written in a report published on Wednesday. «At the moment we do not see any tendency towards widespread use within Germany. But we have that in view, ”emphasized Schaade.

The mutant is called a "double variant" because there are two special mutations in the so-called spike protein, explained Schaade. It is assumed that one of these mutations undermines the antibody response and the other mutation the second arm of the immune response. That is a theory against the background of observations in other variants with such mutations. But that is not proven, there is no secured data.

The infection process in India is currently very strong, the mutant is widespread in some, but not all, parts of the country, said Schaade. In short, one could not say that the variant alone caused the situation. "There are other factors in India right now that are clearly contributing to the infection dynamics." There is no lockdown, large events with many millions of people could take place, which promotes infections.

One could not yet say that the mutant is spreading particularly widely and that it is a so-called Immunescape variant. "Both are possibilities, which is why we have this variant under observation." Due to a lack of evidence, it is not yet classified as a worrying variant. In the case of variants with Immunescape (immune escape), the effect of the vaccination and the immunity after infection is weakened.


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Spahn calls for the start of the federal emergency brake to avoid contact

“It's hard, it's difficult, each of us. But that is necessary for a transition period, ”said Spahn. It is about breaking the third corona wave and then being able to open more areas based on more tests.

Spahn emphasized that the changes in the Infection Protection Act that came into force on Friday were an "emergency brake". So this is something that should have been braked before. Planned nightly exit restrictions in regions with a high infection rate have also been in the instrument box since the beginning of March according to a corresponding federal-state decision.

With regard to the corona vaccinations, Spahn confirmed that based on the delivery forecasts in June, an end to the previous fixed order can be expected. He emphasized that he meant “in the course of June”, not from June 1st. That doesn't mean that everyone could get vaccinated in June. This will continue into the summer.

Spahn also warned that the third wave could not be tested away and that it could not be inoculated against it.

More than 22 percent first vaccinations in Germany

In Germany, 22.2 percent of the population have been vaccinated against the coronavirus at least once. This emerges from the vaccination rate monitoring carried out by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Friday.

So far, all departments have administered a total of around 24.3 million vaccinations, of which just under 18.5 million were first vaccinations and a good 5.8 million second vaccinations. Accordingly, the rate of fully vaccinated rose slightly to seven percent. On Wednesday, 606,283 vaccinations were injected.

All federal states have meanwhile come above the 20 percent mark with initial vaccinations. Bremen and Saarland have the highest rates with 24.7. With 20.2 percent, Hessen is still behind Baden-Württemberg with 21.3 percent. Thuringia has the highest proportion of second vaccinations with 8.9 percent.

95.3 percent of the 25.5 million vaccinations delivered up to last Sunday were injected by Thursday. The “Comirnaty” preparation from Biontech / Pfizer accounts for the largest share with around 17.6 million doses. Almost six million doses of "Vaxzevria" - the preparation from Astrazeneca - and around 1.9 million doses of Moderna's "Covid-19 Vaccine" were delivered.

The vaccination campaign in Germany started at the end of last year. First it was the turn of people over 80, residents of old people's and nursing homes and medical staff. Among other things, chronically ill people with an increased risk of a serious and fatal course are given preference to vaccinate.