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"We are observing measures here that are no longer scientifically justifiable"

Pediatricians criticize the negative consequences for children and young people of the new Infection Protection Act.

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"We are observing measures here that are no longer scientifically justifiable"

Pediatricians criticize the negative consequences for children and young people of the new Infection Protection Act. The conditions according to which the federal states are allowed to impose measures in schools and daycare centers from October 1st are “poorly formulated,” said Burkhard Rodeck, Secretary General of the German Society for Child and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ): “It would have been the task of the federal government , to set clearly defined parameters for compulsory tests and masks in schools and daycare centers,” criticized Rodeck in an interview with WELT.

The Infection Protection Act of the traffic light government, which the Bundestag still has to approve, creates the framework for new corona measures that also affect children and young people. According to the draft law, the federal states may impose a mask requirement in schools from grade five. The prerequisite is therefore that this is necessary “to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 and to maintain regular classroom teaching”. Corona tests in daycare centers and all school classes may also be ordered if they are also necessary “to ensure the functionality of the health system or other critical infrastructure”. So much for the definition, which is now being criticized for being too unclear - and thus potentially too far-reaching.

Because it should no longer be about preventing “infections at any price”. Tests are therefore only useful and necessary if there are symptoms of a disease. A "hard reason" is also needed to oblige children to wear restrictive masks and thus to protect others, said the DGKJ Secretary General: "Face masks are not comfort items." With the mild Omicron variant, the risks for diseases such as PIMS and Long had decreased Covid reduced even further in adolescents. Rodeck warned against the unequal treatment of children and young people compared to adults by the law.

The German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) also expressed concerns about the draft. "Proportionality, meaningfulness and evidence" should be the focus of the measures, demanded the chairman Tobias Tenenbaum at the request of WELT: "Restrictive measures specifically for children are not justifiable if they are not equally obligatory in the general population."

The Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) refers to the massive consequences of continued tests without cause. These have a sensitivity of just 40 percent, said BVKJ spokesman Jakob Maske WELT: "Unjustified quarantine orders for false positive tests are the consequences that lead to further social isolation and reduced learning time." This is after two and a half years Pandemic had to be recognized a long time ago, criticized Maske. Not only the closure of schools, but also the restrictions of cultural and sports facilities must be ruled out: “We keep observing swab and hygiene measures in these facilities that are no longer scientifically justifiable.”

Criticism of the unclear requirements of the law also comes from representatives of the governing parties. When asked by WELT, Dieter Janecek, the Green MP and spokesman for economic policy and head of the working group on economics in the German Bundestag, spoke out against the "restrictive measures" for children provided for by the law: "Neither mask requirements nor random tests are in still appropriate in this late phase of the pandemic.” The quarantine regulations would also have to be readjusted. "Only if there is a real and verifiable threat of overburdening the health system on site should measures be possible at all," Janecek clarified.

The President of the Conference of Ministers of Education praised the fact that school closures due to the pandemic are now excluded from the law. Schools should be affected as little as possible, said KMK President Karin Prien (CDU) to the "Funke" newspapers. The measures would “only be used if they are required locally or if teaching would not be possible otherwise”.

A number of FDP parliamentary group members expressed fundamental concerns about the traffic light project. The free democratic member of parliament Frank Schäffler already criticized on Wednesday that the federal states were given "far too many opportunities to interfere with personal rights and freedoms". The Bundestag could then only watch. Parts of the opposition also expressed dissatisfaction and demanded a precise definition in the law as to when the federal states could impose measures. The legal policy spokesman for the CSU in the Bundestag, Volker Ullrich, complained that there was a lack of clarity "from when countries may set stricter rules". The law is so "not capable of approval" CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja also criticized that the traffic light had given many decisions to the federal states. He believes “that the measures go beyond what the infection process makes necessary”.

Many federal states, but also hospital and doctor representatives, had already called for nationwide limit values ​​in advance, on the basis of which protective measures could be imposed. This included, for example, the number of free intensive care beds. The responsible ministers Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Marco Buschmann (FDP) are now leaving the decision to the federal states. The law still has to be approved by the Bundestag and Bundesrat. In the past it had been shown that in many countries both the incidence and the hospitalization rate had been incorrectly calculated or reported in an unclear manner. On this basis, in turn, restrictions on fundamental rights were decided.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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