The federal government wants to implement the recommendations of the Corona Expert Committee as far as possible. This emerges from a 22-page statement by the federal government on the report of the expert committee, which is available to WELT. The committee's main point of criticism was the catastrophic corona data situation in Germany, which would have meant that the damage and benefits of individual measures could only be assessed to a limited extent. "The Federal Government recognizes the need for optimization with regard to data collection and its recording," the government's response now says. Regulatory improvements must be made so that data is digitized and brought into a uniform format.
At the same time, the government does not consider its own work with regard to the data situation to be adequately acknowledged. It lists a number of initiatives such as the establishment of a panel at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the establishment of a so-called “pandemic radar” promoted by Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD).
The government criticizes that the experts have not sufficiently taken into account the possibilities of using data from institutions that are currently being set up, such as the university medicine network, which has created “good foundations for research” with various cohorts. In addition: "In the future, the data from the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians will also be able to contribute to broadening the database for pharmacovigilance." The Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians are legally obliged to report all vaccination data and side effects to the RKI and the Paul Ehrlich Institute - this is however, has not yet been carried out extensively.
The new Corona Ordinance with FFP2 mask requirement in public transport, in clinics and medical practices has been in force since October. Karl Lauterbach wants to prepare the care facilities for the Corona autumn in particular. You can see what plans the Minister of Health has for this here.
The expert committee had also criticized the government's risk communication and formulated new principles. The government is now writing that these are being shared and “have formed the basis for information and educational work” about the virus and vaccination since the beginning of the pandemic. The uncertainty of the current state of knowledge was also always transparently pointed out in the press briefings. The current information campaigns take into account the experts' recommendations.
The government agrees with the experts' assessment that the effects of the lockdowns must be assessed in a differentiated manner in terms of health and psychosocial stress: "While an early, short lockdown - if necessary - can be an effective tool, a longer lockdown - especially also from a proportionality point of view - increasing concerns and should no longer be ordered in the current phase of the pandemic.
The federal government writes that it takes the burdens associated with school closures very seriously, and that maintaining regular school operations and continuous on-site care and education offers is therefore a top priority. She points out that lockdowns, school closures and general 2G/3G rules can currently only be ordered if the Bundestag again determines the epidemic situation of national importance. From today's perspective, the prerequisites for this "are not foreseeable". The experts' statement that this is a legally questionable construction "takes note of it".
The Committee of Experts had come to the conclusion that a “general recommendation to wear FFP2 masks” could not be derived from the previous data. A mask requirement should also be limited to indoor areas and places with a higher risk of infection. In addition, the importance of wearing masks correctly and consistently must be better and repeatedly explained. The government does not respond to these criticisms - although only recently an FFP2 obligation was anchored in long-distance trains.
The government admits that the pandemic has significantly changed the lives of the population and that both the pandemic and the measures have caused psychosocial distress for many people. But: "To what extent this is accompanied by an increase in mental disorders requiring treatment cannot be conclusively assessed."
The statement also includes thanks to the “independent experts” for their commitment and the “excellent cooperation.” The Corona Expert Committee was set up in spring 2021 and half was staffed by the Bundestag and half by the Federal Government with interdisciplinary experts. He presented his report on July 1 of this year - after months of arguments as to whether an evaluation is even possible given the data situation and Charité virologist Christian Drosten left the commission in the course of these discussions.